ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — One more game to go and Tampa Bay Rowdies head coach Neill Collins is trying to find the right balance in practice with the USL Championship trophy on the line.
“This is the old conundrum, you don’t want the boys kicking lumps out of each other,” Collins said. “Every time there’s a tackle in training you’re wincing. At the same time, you got to prepare like to prepare for every other game. You have to train right.”
The Rowdies stormed through the eastern conference playoffs, advancing to the USL Championship for the first time since joining the league in 2017. They will host Western Conference champion Phoenix Rising Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET.
“I’m sure the adrenaline will still be pumping for those guys and they can enjoy this last week of training,” Collins added.
You can now add the Rowdies to the successful professional sports franchises in Tampa Bay. Collins believes that this championship run is a great opportunity to even more people on board with the Rowdies.
“We’re very fortunate to have our die hard fans behind us no matter what,” Collins said. “But, people love winning. We have the opportunity to bring home another trophy. I think as a club, if we can sustain this level we can start bringing people that are not aware.”
Al Lang Stadium will host Sunday’s title match. It is already sold out with a socially-distant crowd of 1,500 fans.
“So hopefully this year we can get a few more people on the hook, and then next year we can get this place packed,” Collins said.