The FC Tampa Bay may call St. Pete home this season, but they are global citizens -- from Haiti, Kuwait, Cuba, London New Zealand, the U.S., Japan and Canada.
Members of the team met the public Wednesday night at The Venue night club in Clearwater. The team consists of seven returning Tampa Bay Rowdies, the Tampa pro soccer team that changed its name at the end of the season last year, and 11 star players from international teams.
Although there will be many players from other countries, three are from the Tampa Bay area: local goalie Jeff Attinella from Clearwater, Chad Burt, from St. Petersburg, and JP Rodrigues from Tampa.
Head Coach Ricky Hill, from England, has an outstanding pedigree, having coached for Tottenham Hot Spurs, Sheffield Wednesday and Luton Town in England and in Trinidad. He said he is very happy to be in the Tampa Bay area and is very pleased with Al Lang Field.
“We were over there today and checked out the field,” he said. “It’s in a great location and it’s a beautiful stadium. Everything is new and in great shape. We can’t wait to play there.”
Hill is happy with his new team and has signed a three year contract. He and the team live in Tampa but will play homes games at AL Lang.
Asked how he thinks his newly formed team will do, Hill smiled. “If we start off optimistic and don’t get overconfident we will do well. These guys are all talented people and as we form a cohesive unit, we should be extremely competitive."
What: FC (stands for Football Club) faces the Montreal Impact
When: 7 p.m. Saturday at Al Lang Field, 230 1st St S.
Check out the first practice for free from 10 a.m. to noon today at Al Lang Field