CLICK HERE for the Tampa Bay Rowdies Press Release (1/15/20)
The Chargers Soccer Club and the Chargers U.S. Development Academy Coaches and Technical staff have come to a partnership agreement with the Tampa Bay Rowdies to work together as the Coaching Staff for the Rowdies new USL Two League Team as part of the Rowdies Youth Network initiatives.
The USL Two League team is part of the United Soccer Leagues (USL) pyramid of tiered soccer leagues.
Chargers SC current DA u19 Coach Andres Arango and a former Rowdies defender and 2012 Champion will be the Head Coach of the USL2 Team. Nathan Bender DA u15 Coach and Youth Coordinator will be an Assistant Coach along with Goalkeeper Coach and former Rowdies Goalkeeper, Kevin Clinton. Roberto Lopez Chargers DA Director will serve as the Technical Advisor and Jim DiNobile, Director of Soccer Operations, will be the Club Liaison.
The USL Two league schedule will start in May 2020 and run through the end of July with home games being played at the AL Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, FL. The roster will include the best of the young talented players, ages 16-22, in the Tampa Bay area that has professional player aspirations and potential. The players will be put into a professional soccer environment to improve their abilities and to provide a direct path into professional soccer with the Rowdies.
There will be upcoming announcements concerning open tryouts, training, schedules, clinics, events and more in the upcoming weeks as the USL Two league team comes together under the Tampa Bay Rowdies Youth Network Partnership!
The Chargers SC Coaches are incredibly excited to be part of the USL Two League Team and here is what the Chargers Coaches are saying:
Andres Arango, Chargers U-19 DA Head: "We are excited to be partnering with The Tampa Bay Rowdies. Their new ownership and staff have made an effort to make this about the youth and community. The Chargers have always been a respected and successful club and this will only help continue to grow its integrity. Tampa Bay/Clearwater/St. Pete has always been missing that pathway to the pros and now our players and families can experience it - both on and off the field! I believe that soccer is a passion and culture and this is the first step in creating that culture locally."
Nathan Bender, Chargers U-15 Academy Head Coach & Junior DA Coordinator: "I've always felt in America we were at a big disadvantage in player development compared to the rest of the world with no clear pathway from Academy to Professional play, as well as younger players not having the opportunity to train with and play against older more experienced players to grow. However, now with this partnership with the Tampa Bay Rowdies and the USL 2 team, our Chargers DA and club players have access to a clearly defined pathway to being a pro player. This opportunity will challenge our players to grow tremendously on and off the field. They will experience first hand the necessary level of commitment, dedication and intensity needed to become a Pro, through training and playing in a professional environment with older players. We are excited to continue to push our players to the next level of player development with this USL 2 initiative! "
Jim DiNobile, Chargers Director of Soccer Operations: "The Chargers SC has always been a leader in the Tampa Bay soccer community and youth soccer development nationwide! Partnering with the Tampa Bay Rowdies USL Two League team and Youth Project Network enables our Chargers Soccer Club to continue to be at the forefront of the soccer landscape that will have a positive impact on our Chargers members and everyone in the game!"
Roberto Lopez, Chargers DA Director: "The Chargers SC have a long history of Developing Players for our National Teams and the Professional ranks for the past 40 years, it only seems logical for both The Rowdies and Chargers SC to come together to carve a pathway for young players to continue on their path towards a professional Soccer career with our Local professional Club. It will not only help our young players but also our young coaches in their professional development. Lastly, it enhances the community efforts to support and be part of such a prestigious institution such as The Rowdies. A win-win situation for all."
Kevin Clinton, Chargers DA & Competitive Goalkeeper Coach: "I've have been in the Rowdies family since the early 80s as a player and these past ten years in the coaching staff. I have also been very fortunate to be part of the Chargers SC these past twenty years, helping develop some of the best goalkeepers for our U.S. National, MLS, USL, and European teams. Having my two families come together as one, developing our young talented players, helping them reach their dreams at playing at the highest level is a dream come true. Great opportunity for both clubs, our community, and the young players that play the game that I love so much. My sincere thanks to those involved that made this happen!"