The Tampa Bay Rowdies are an American professional soccer team based in St. Petersburg who play their home games at Al Lang Stadium. The club was founded in 2008 and first took the pitch in 2010. Since 2017, the Rowdies have been members of the USL Championship in the second tier of the American soccer pyramid. They had previously played in both the North American Soccer League and the USFF Division 2 which are also second-tier leagues.
The current club shares many qualities with the original Tampa Bay Rowdies, such as name, logo and some club culture. The original team was active from 1975 to 1993 and played primarily in the North American Soccer League. It took the current team a few years to get the old Rowdies' trademarks, so they were known as FC Tampa Bay until December 2011. However, they always used the same green and yellow color scheme and "hoops" as the original team, even when they could not yet use the Rowdies name
The original Tampa Bay Rowdies were an expansion franchise in the original North American Soccer League and were an immediate and consistent success. They won the 1975 Soccer Bowl in their inaugural season and showcased international stars including midfield captain Rodney Marsh (England), league-leading goal scorers Derek Smethurst (South Africa) and Oscar Fabbiani (Argentina) and all-star defenders Arsene Auguste (Haiti) and "Iron" Mike Connell (South Africa). After the NASL folded in 1984, the team continued on in several other leagues before folding in 1993.
The Rowdies captured the NASL championship in Soccer Bowl 2012, and their team shield includes two stars: one for their 2012 win and one for the 1975 Soccer Bowl championship won by the original Rowdies. The club has had a long-standing rivalry with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, with whom they have contested the Florida Derby since the original Rowdies and Strikers first met in 1977.
Cover image by CityofStPete on Flickr is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0. Information courtesy of Wikipedia.