Tampa Bay Rowdies compete in the USL Championship Finals on Sunday night
In October 2005, Stuart Sternberg became the general managing partner of the Tampa Bay Rays, after an ownership group led by Sternberg agreed to acquire the team from Vince Naimoli in 2004. Three years later, the Rays were playing for the team. their first World Series title. .
In October 2018, Sternberg purchased Tampa Bay Rowdies, a second division football club playing in the USL Championship, from Bill Edwards. Now, three years after Sternberg and other Rays teammates came to run the team, the Rowdies find themselves playing for their first USL Championship title tonight in St.Petersburg.
I say all this not to give Sternberg all the credit for leading these teams to success, but to celebrate the achievements of the people he has been entrusted with running them. While many questioned Sternberg’s motives behind the Rowdies purchase, he put Matt Silverman and Brian Auld in charge of the business (like he did with the Rays) and let football professionals run the businesses. activities on the field. Club president Lee Cohen and head coach Neill Collins are responsible for player development and recruitment, and with both men having been with the club for several years, they understand what it takes to get there. compete in the USL Championship. Collins was a Rowdies player before retiring midway through the 2018 season to take over as head coach.
Last season, the Rowdies finished their best in their league and reached the USL Championship Finals for the first time in the club’s history. That final was canceled due to the COVID outbreak just days before the match was scheduled to take place at Al Lang Stadium. They followed up last season’s performance by finishing with the best regular-season record in the league and advancing to the Finals. That record ensures that tonight’s match will be played in front of a sold-out home audience.
Just like their sister baseball club, the Rowdies are no stranger to post-season drama, as a last-second goal completed a two-goal comeback and gave them the chance to claim the title. into the Eastern Conference Finals in extra time last Saturday. In attendance were Rays fan favorites Brett Phillips and Randy Arozarena. Raiko Arozarena, Randy’s brother, is the goalkeeper for Rowdies.
Sunday’s final will be broadcast on ESPN, and the match is scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m. ET. A Rowdies victory would mark their third championship, but their first in the USL Championship (The first iteration the club won the NASL Soccer Bowl in 1975, with the team at the time. modern modern won again in 2012).
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