Rowdies to host top MLS teams

Posted at 1:45 PM, Jan 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-28 14:12:44-05

Some of the biggest soccer stars in North America are coming to Tampa Bay in February to participate in the Tampa Bay Rowdies Suncoast Invitational, a brand-new preseason exhibition series unlike any the Tampa Bay area has ever hosted.

The Tampa Bay Rowdies, along with Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union, New York City FC, D.C. United, Montreal Impact, New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC will participate in the Rowdies Suncoast Invitational, which will be played between February 17 and February 27. 

Don’t miss your chance to see Andrea Pirlo, Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, David Villa, Sebastian Giovinco, Bobby Boswell, Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Fabian Espindola, Maurice Edu, Sacha Kljestan and more take the field along with the Tampa Bay Rowdies!

In addition to participating in the Tampa Bay Rowdies Suncoast Invitational, the Montreal Impact will hold a preseason training camp hosted by the Rowdies from February 15-28.

During that time, the Impact will call Al Lang Stadium home, using the field, locker room and gym facilities alongside the Rowdies. 

2016 will be the second year the Philadelphia Union will base their preseason training camp at the Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex in Clearwater.

In addition to high-level exhibition matches that will help prepare the teams for their 2016 regular seasons, the Tampa Bay Rowdies Suncoast Invitational offers Pinellas County and soccer fans throughout the Tampa Bay area the chance to see six MLS clubs in action.

“We’re thrilled to welcome these MLS teams to St. Petersburg,” said Rowdies principal owner Bill Edwards.  “This is a fantastic opportunity to bring some of the world’s best soccer talent home to our fans.  I am grateful to the City of Clearwater, the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission and all involved in making this invitational a reality.  I look forward to it becoming an annual soccer tradition.”

Tickets will be complimentary for 2016 Tampa Bay Rowdies season ticket holders for all matches. Single-day tickets will allow access to both matches on any particular day. 

For matches at Al Lang Stadium, Midfielder's Club or Reserved seats that will get you just feet away from all the stars are available for $20. Seating in the main stadium bowl is $15, while youth tickets are $10.

General admission tickets for the February 24 matches at the Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex are $15 for adults and $10 for youth.

Tickets to all matches will go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. Friday, January 29.

Match Schedule

Wednesday, February 17 – Al Lang Stadium
D.C. United vs Philadelphia Union, 4 p.m.
New York City FC vs Montreal Impact, 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 20 – Al Lang Stadium
D.C. United vs Montreal Impact, 4 p.m.
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs Philadelphia Union, 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, February 24 – Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex
Toronto FC vs Montreal Impact, 4 p.m.
New York Red Bulls vs Philadelphia Union, 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 27 – Al Lang Stadium
Philadelphia Union vs Toronto FC, 4 p.m.
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs Montreal Impact, 7:00 p.m.
*match schedule subject to change

Quote Sheet

D.C. United – Dave Kasper, General Manager
“This preseason tournament against some of our top Eastern Conference competitors is great preparation for us as we prepare to face an in-season club in Queretaro in the CONCACAF Champions League, and soon after, the start of the MLS season.”

Montreal Impact – Head Coach Mauro Biello
“We’re happy to join this preseason invitational, which will be a good preparation for the group prior to the MLS regular season. We’ll have the opportunity to face other MLS teams in first class infrastructures. We wish to thank the Rowdies organization and their staff for hosting our team for two weeks.”

Philadelphia Union - Earnie Stewart, Sporting Director
"It was important for us to schedule high-level opponents this preseason in an effort to maximize our fitness regimen. Our slate of matches during this tournament is exactly the kind of test we were looking for and we'll embrace the challenge. We're looking forward to being down there as we continue to prepare for our season." 

Toronto FC – Head Coach Greg Vanney
“We are looking forward to participating in the Suncoast Invitational. It will be a good opportunity to see how far the group has progressed through the pre-season. It is important to get MLS competition heading into the MLS season to build fitness and prepare for the speed of play.”