The Tampa Bay Rowdies have announced a partnership with the MPS Portland Phoenix of the United Soccer League’s Professional Development League, which will act as an outlet for the Rowdies to field non-first team players in competitive action and for player identification purposes.
In addition, the Rowdies and Phoenix coaching staffs will collaborate in an effort to align playing and training styles.
“The relationship with MPS is important for FC Tampa Bay Rowdies and will be successful due to the similar mission and philosophy of both clubs,” Rowdies Owner and President Andrew Nestor said in a press release. “We have established an aligned vision for player development that will aid the Rowdies in identifying and developing future professional players.”
Maine Premier Soccer previously fielded the Cape Cod Crusaders, which won PDL championships in 2002 and 2003. Graduates of those sides included Joseph Ngwenya, who won an MLS title in 2007 with the Houston Dynamo, and current MLS players Scott Palgutta (Colorado Rapids) and Kurt Morsink (Kansas City Wizards).
Maine Premier Soccer General Manager Paul Baber said he was excited to enter into the partnership with the Rowdies.
“As a PDL franchise, we have become a conveyor belt for players moving to professional teams both in the US and abroad,” Baber said in the press release. “We look forward to producing players who can become immediate impact players for the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the future.”