Tampa Bay Rowdies in playoffs for the first time since 2012

Posted at 3:53 PM, Oct 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-19 18:21:00-04

Since Justin Chavez was a kid growing up in Oklahoma City, soccer has been life. Chavez is all grown up now and playing out his dreams on the soccer field with the Tampa Bay Rowdies. 

The team is playing in its first playoffs since 2012. Chavez says the fans get a lot of the credit.

"Pretty much every game we have had this year has been sold out,” said Chavez.  “So we really appreciate the support and I think that's why we have a good record here at home. Just because of the fans."

For Justin though, he plays for more than just the championship.

"My mom, she’s my motivator. Ever since I was four years old. She has been there motivating me," said Chavez.

In 2014, he became the motivator after his mom, Juanita, was diagnosed with breast cancer.  He used his soccer platform, with the help of his teammates, to raise money for the cause.  Not only for his mom, but also for the Susan G. Komen research foundation.

Now, Justin was happy to report to us, his mom is cancer free.

"She was 100 percent cleared and when I got that phone call, I just dropped down in tears. Hearing that news was better than winning a championship," said Chavez.

He said his mom’s health scare has made him even more grateful for the chance to do what he loves and given him a platform to spread awareness. Especially in October, as it’s Breast Cancer Awareness month.

The Tampa Bay Rowdies can take one step closer to winning the USL Cup this Saturday, when they host FC Cincinnati in the USL Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Join us at Al Lang Stadium and roar your Rowdies on to victory by calling (727) 222-2000 or online.

This is the first time the club has made the playoffs since the Rowdies' 2012 championship season.