ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rowdies today announced a partnership with the Chargers Soccer Club (CSC) which makes the Rowdies the Official Professional Soccer Partner of the Chargers U.S. Development Academy.
Based in the Bay Area with chapters in Clearwater, Tampa and Lakewood Ranch, CSC is a member of the United States Soccer Development Academy, which provides the optimum developmental environment for the nation’s top youth soccer players. With a direct connection to U.S. National Team programming, the academy emphasizes long-term development through quality training and limited, meaningful competition.
“This exciting partnership holds great significance for the Rowdies organization,” Rowdies general manager Perry Van Der Beck said. “As one of the premier soccer clubs in the Southeastern United States, the Chargers have built an impressive reputation for producing players who have gone on to play at professional and national team levels.”
The Rowdies will have an advisory role in the development and execution of the technical aspects of the Academy (e.g., coaching selection, technical staff selection, player selection.)
“The Chargers Soccer Club is very excited to be partnering with a professional organization with an incredible reputation such as the Rowdies,” Chargers Director of Coaching Peter Mannino said. “The vertical integration of youth soccer through the professional level is something that we have been striving to achieve. The real winners from this partnership are the players and fans. At the end of this process, the benefits to both organizations involved will be outstanding.”
Chargers Academy teams play at the U-14, U-16 and U-18 levels. Current Rowdies Brian Shriver and Kyle Clinton both played youth soccer for the Chargers. Shriver is the reigning NASL Golden Boot Winner, awarded to the league’s top goal scorer.
“This partnership also allows the Rowdies to identify, develop and mentor top local, homegrown players through the Rowdies-Chargers Development Academy. This will ultimately elevate our game performance for many years, much like the top tier soccer clubs in the United States and around the world,” Van Der Beck said. “Once again, the Rowdies ownership has proven a deep commitment to the sport of soccer at all levels. This is a winning partnership for the entire Bay Area.”
“My commitment to the Rowdies goes beyond gameday and beyond the 2014 season,” added Rowdies principal owner Bill Edwards. “Soccer is the sport of the future - thousands of kids play throughout the Tampa Bay area. This partnership with the Chargers allows us to truly support the growth of soccer by helping to find and develop top talent. Like the Rowdies, the Chargers have a long, successful history in the Bay area. It makes sense for us to join forces to raise soccer to the next level.”