The Tampa Bay Rowdies have announced their first official signing, New Zealand international Jeremy Christie.
Christie, a midfielder, has won 20 caps for New Zealand, and played in five of his country’s qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup. New Zealand will face Italy, Paraguay and Slovakia in the opening round of the tournament after qualifying for the first time since 1982.
“Jeremy Christie has the experience and skill to be a true leader on the field and in our locker room. He has played well at the highest level for his country since the age of 16,” team owner and president Andrew Nestor said in a press release. “Jeremy is the kind of player whose skill and professionalism will exemplify our club.”
Christie is the first of seven foreign players the Rowdies will be able to sign. His prior professional begin with Barnsley in England before he returned closer to home to play in Australia’s A-League, competing for the New Zealand Knights, Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix before a short stay with Waikatere United in the New Zealand Football Championship.
“I’m excited to be a part of the Rowdies in their inaugural season,” Christie said. “I look forward to moving to Florida and working with the remarkable Rowdies coaching staff and organization.”