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FC Tampa Bay Kicks off Preseason Training & Transformation of Al Lang Stadium Begins

February 28, 2011 - North American Soccer League (NASL) - Tampa Bay Rowdies News Release

FC Tampa Bay began its 2011 preseason officially today with its first practice session. The morning practice lasted just over two hours, and Head Coach Ricky Hill and Assistant Coach David Hayes watched players train hard as the duo conducted their first practice as the club's new coaching staff.

All but one FC Tampa Bay player was in attendance. Defender J.P. Rodrigues will be joining FC Tampa Bay at the end of the Major Indoor Soccer League season, where he is playing for the Milwaukee Wave. Hayes, who played with the Carolina RailHawks in 2010, joined in the training session as well.

A few trialists also joined the squad this morning, including USF alum Javed Mohammed (D), former Austin Aztex player and USF alum Yohance Marshall (D) and Jason Yeisley (F).

"I felt the players came back with a very positive frame of mind and they all worked well in both the physical and football practices that we delivered," said Hill.

Jeremy Christie and Yendry Diaz sat out of full practice today due to injuries, which are on the mend. Christie will be sidelined four to six months recovering from hip surgery, which he underwent last week. Diaz is rehabilitating and training after undergoing surgery in January on his groin and is expected to be fully fit at the beginning of the regular season.

Don't forget about the FC Tampa Bay Social Media Contest

While checking out the inside scoop on FC Tampa Bay's pre-season practices, don't forget to take part in the FC Tampa Bay Social Media Contest! All you have to do is like us on either Facebook or Twitter to win! Our 3,000th fan on Twitter and our 1,500th fan on Facebook will receive two tickets to any regular season game of their choice, as well as an official FC Tampa Bay scarf. This contest is not just for the lucky fan or follower, whoever referred them to us will also be receiving two tickets to any regular season game of their choice. Find us, like us, become a part of FC Tampa Bay!

Al Lang Stadium Transitioning Into FC Tampa Bay Home

FC Tampa Bay players, coaches, staff and fans will soon walk into a completely revamped stadium in St. Petersburg, which they are calling home for the next two seasons. Al Lang Stadium's extreme makeover will be complete by the end of March to be ready for the home opener on Saturday, April 9.

Al Lang's renovations, which started in the beginning of February, have included repainting the entire stadium and refurbishing the press box, concession stands, merchandising, customer service, box office and seating sections. The signage for the field boxes and seat section indicators all show off the FC Tampa Bay colors and logo. The logo is also donned prominently on the side and front of Al Lang - seen from the streets of downtown St. Petersburg, as well as on the scoreboard.

The players are also receiving a revamp of their locker room with custom made lockers for individual players and coaches.

Because Al Lang is being tailored specifically to FC Tampa Bay, this year the soccer pitch will not have to double as a baseball field during the season. Field installation begins after the International Baseball Tournament ends on March 13. The field and stadium transformation will be complete by FC Tampa Bay's home opener on Saturday, April 9th against Montreal at 7 p.m.

After arriving in Tampa, Head Coach Ricky Hill sat down to answer a few questions submitted by the fans about coaching, being back in Tampa and what he is looking forward to this season. If you have a question for Coach Hill, submit it to and it could be answered in next month's Q&A with Coach Hill.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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