TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rowdies have completed a multi-year agreement to take control of a soccer complex in Tampa, the team announced on Monday.
The new training center at Waters Avenue and Benjamin Road will be available for the team starting Jan. 1, 2023, and includes two natural grass fields and one artificial turf field approved by FIFA.
“To be able to give the players an enhanced training environment is exciting,” Rowdies Head Coach Neill Collins stated in a news release. “It’s fantastic for players to come in and have a home base with top quality fields, and a place we can really make our own.”
Rowdies to have new training complex next year
The training complex is five miles away from Tampa International Airport and a Rowdies ownership group member, also the current owner of the complex, said he initially wanted the team to train in that facility in 2008.
“As a past steward and owner of the Tampa Bay Rowdies, it was always my vision for the club to have a first-class training facility,” David Laxer stated. “Although it has been a winding path for the Rowdies to arrive here, it brings great pride and pleasure for my family and myself to welcome the Tampa Bay Rowdies to their new training home.”
The Rowdies will have to make a six-figure investment in the complex as part of the agreement and the club is set to swap the two grass fields for a goalkeeper training space. Tampa Bay also wants to make a gym, locker rooms and treatment centers inside the soccer complex to help players recover quickly.
“As a club, we are grateful for the overwhelming support that we have felt from our ownership,” Collins stated. “People always quantify support with the financials, but the actual support, faith and autonomy they’ve given us is equally as important. I think this investment is a big statement about what kind of club we want to be.
"It’s about more than just winning on the field. We want to keep building the club in the community. It’s really exciting, and we hope the fans are also excited by this investment," he added.
The facility will also be used as a way for the club to get the local community more engaged with the team and become a resource for the sport in the Tampa Bay region.
“The Rowdies have excelled as one of the top teams in the USL Championship the last few years and with the addition of this new soccer complex, we believe this organization now has a terrific platform to achieve even more,” Rowdies Vice-Chairman Brian Auld said in a statement. “As ambitious as Neill and the players are to win, our entire organization is equally as hungry to establish even stronger roots as a community asset in Tampa Bay.”
The Rowdies currently train at Al Lang Stadium in Downtown St. Petersburg and sometimes at the University of South Florida's St. Pete campus.
Tampa Bay is in second place of the Eastern Conference in the United Soccer League and is in a good run of form as the team is unbeaten in their last 11 games.
The Rowdies' next game is against Indy Eleven at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 30 in Indianapolis. The match will be streamed on ESPN+.