Why You Should Go to a Rowdies Game

by Jonah King

The beauty of Al Lang stadium and Rowdies soccer is that it’s a walk, skip, and a stones throw away from campus.

The Rowdies partnership has grown with USFSP in recent years. You can see a Rowdies banner on the side of the gym, the shared practice field on 3rd street, plus you can enjoy a Rowdies game for the reasonable price of $10 (with student ID).

Need more to be fully convinced? Read on.

On August 27th, in a North American Soccer League regular season game, the Rowdies dominated Rayo OKC, 2-0, with a two goal effort from Rowdies midfielder Joe Cole. Videos galore below.

As far as the match was concerned, the Rowdies jumped out of the gate with an early penalty kick opportunity. The PK was deflected by the OKC goalkeeper Daniel Fernandes.

For the Rowdies, it was possession control leading to a couple chances in the first half. After the missed penalty, the best opportunity of the first half came from Eric Avila who rocketed a shot that was deflected by Rayo’s Fernandes.

Second half action lit up with a daring reaction save by Rowdies keep Matt Pickens. Pickens has built up quite the highlight reel of spectacular saves this year.

The Rowdies Twitter can handle Cole’s two goal outburst.

The Rowdies cruised to a ‘Dos-a-Cero’ victory over the Oklahoma City visitors.

After hearing about the Rowdies signing of Cole, and researching his solid playing career in the Premiere League (top tier soccer in Europe), it signaled the Rowdies were in the midst of becoming NASL contenders. I wrote a short piece about Cole’s signing, and his potential to be the real deal after the Freddy Adu project didn’t pan out.

The thing about Joe Cole, is that there’s potential for something special to happen every time he touches the ball. See below:

DA NUH NA, NUH NA NA. “Hello ESPN Top 10, my name is Joe Cole, nice to meet you.”

Seeing that guy play, among other talented scrappy, speedy, and physical guys on the Rowdies roster, it’s a well spent $10 Saturday night.

The only thing the Rowdies are currently missing is a championship caliber team. A solid group of players that haven’t strung together enough wins to finish at the top of the North American Soccer League standings.

No matter the result, Al Lang stadium is always hyped up by the support of Ralph’s Mob, whom are rowdy (terrible pun intended) fans that bring an exciting atmosphere to the small stadium.

USFSP students have been accused of not being fully supportive of the Rowdies. It doesn’t help that some of the season falls when students aren’t back to school yet. The Rowdies still have more home matches to play, so be on the look out for future USFSP-Rowdies promotions.

The next chance for USFSP students to see the Rowdies in action at Al Lang will be on September 17th, versus the Carolina Railhawks.

(Video and Photo by: Tampa Bay Rowdies, Crow’s Nest)


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