Rowdies One Step Closer to Joining Major League Soccer

The St. Pete community showed their overwhelming support for the Tampa Bay Rowdies on May 2. 87% of voters checked yes to approve a referendum that solidifies Al Lang Stadium as, potentially, the future site of an MLS expansion team. The referendum officially gives the City Council the authority to negotiate a long-term use agreement for Al Lang.

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Major renovations planned for Al Lang Stadium 

Owner Bill Edwards is set invest $80 million in renovations to the stadium. Improved concessions, expanded seating and updated facilities are among the planned improvements. The Burg is one of 12 cities in the running for an MLS expansion team. The league is set to announce its first two selections later in 2017.

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Major League Soccer offered the following statement after the results of the vote were announced:

“We are pleased that the people of St. Petersburg support the Rowdies proposal to renovate Al Lang Stadium.  Bill Edwards personally came to our offices in January to submit his expansion application and share his vision. With the passage of the stadium vote, we look forward to working with the Rowdies as they continue to pursue a Major League Soccer team for Tampa Bay.”

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Residents gather to celebrate the victory at the polls 

Following the vote, the Rowdies held a victory party on their home field. Over 300 St. Pete residents were in attendance to celebrate.

“I am grateful to the citizens of St. Petersburg for passing this important referendum,” said Rowdies Chairman & CEO Bill Edwards. “St. Petersburg is very protective of our incredibly valuable waterfront – as is appropriate.  We have put together a stadium plan that enhances our downtown, is of a scale that is respectful to our waterfront and does not burden the taxpayers.”

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Team will continue to require community support this season

The push to become an MLS expansion team has only just begun. The Rowdies will continue to count on the support of the Tampa Bay community in their pursuit of the MLS. You can help by filling the stands at their next home match, May 13, against Louisville City FC. You can purchase tickets online or by calling 727.222.2000.

Don’t miss any of the Rowdies action this year by following the team on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Written by Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan is in his third year as Writer/Editor of iLovetheBurg.com. New York Times bestselling author Andre Dubus III has said of him, “Andrew Harlan has a sharp and discerning eye for detail that deftly captures character and landscape." He has published fiction and poetry in Sabal and Prime Number Literary Magazine. He graduated with honors from Eckerd College in 2013 with a B.A. in Creative Writing and a minor in Literature. He can be reached by phone: (727) 896-3435 or email: andrew@rkc.me