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Rowdies Add Defender Gale Agbossoumonde and Tampa Bay Native Darnell King to Roster

December 22, 2014 - North American Soccer League (NASL) - Tampa Bay Rowdies News Release

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (December 22, 2014) - The Tampa Bay Rowdies boosted their defensive strength with the addition of defenders Gale Agbossoumonde and Darnell King on Monday. Per club and league policy, contract details were not disclosed.

Agbossoumonde (pronounced gah-lay ag-BOSS-oo-mon-day) joins the Rowdies after spending the 2014 season with both Toronto FC and the Colorado Rapids in Major League Soccer. A 6-foot-2 central defender capable of playing on the right when needed, Agbossoumonde, 23, brings physicality and technical ability to the backline.

Rowdies coach Thomas Rongen has a long-standing relationship with Agbossoumonde, having invited him to join the United State U-20 Men's National Team in 2009 as a 17-year old. Agbossoumonde continued with Rongen's U-20 team through the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt, where he started every match.

"Gale is big, tall and athletic," Rowdies coach Thomas Rongen said. "He's strong and powerful, which I feel is a necessity for a center back. For the way we want to play, which is a possession-oriented style, it's very important to have a center back who is comfortable on the ball. Gale fits that mold. This signing will help build our spine. With Juan (Guerra) in the No. 6 or 8 position and Gale in the No. 3 or 4 position behind him, we're building the axis of the team."

On Nov. 17, 2010, his 19th birthday, Agbossoumonde made his senior debut for the United States Men's National Team against South Africa in the Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup.

Agbossoumonde played at the IMG Academy in 2009, before turning professional and debuting with Miami FC, now the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. From 2010-2012, Agbossoumonde plied his trade in Europe, playing for Estoril Praia in the Portuguese Second Division, Djurgardens IF in the Swedish Allsvenskan and Eintracht Frankfurt II, the youth team for the German Bundesliga's Eintracht Frankfurt.

In 2012, Agbossoumonde returned Stateside on a loan deal with the NASL's Carolina RailHawks, where he made 17 appearances. Agbossoumonde moved to Toronto FC (TFC) in 2013, where he played 1,080 minutes in 13 appearances, including 12 starts. Agbossoumonde returned to TFC in 2014, but was traded to the Colorado Rapids in May.

King, 24, is a Hillsborough County native who has spent his entire professional career with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and arrives in Tampa Bay as an experienced NASL veteran despite his young age. King made 75 appearances, including 61 starts in his three seasons with the Strikers.

"Darnell has proven himself over time to be an outstanding attacking fullback," said Rowdies head coach Thomas Rongen. "The way we want to play is with outside fullbacks who have a keen understanding of how to defend but are also very comfortable going forward. Darnell has lightning speed and will be a huge asset to our team."

King is a quick right-sided player capable of playing as a right back or further forward as a right midfielder. King played forward for Gaither High School in Tampa and graduated in 2008. He set the school record with 71 points in a season, scoring 27 goals and tallying 17 assists en route to being named an All-County selection.

King attended on to Florida Atlantic University, where he played from 2008-2011. In his four years with the Owls, King scored 17 goals and tallied 10 assists. He was FAU's leading points scorer in his sophomore, junior and senior seasons.

King played primarily as a right back for Fort Lauderdale, culminating in his NASL Best XI recognition this past season as a defender. In his three years with the Strikers, King scored six goals.

2015 season tickets start at just $160 for 16 matches. The Spring Season includes home matchups against in-state rivals Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Jacksonville Armada FC, who will be playing their inaugural season. The 2015 home opener is set for Saturday, April 11, with the Rowdies hosting defending Spring Champion, Minnesota United FC. To purchase season tickets, call (877) ROWDIES today.

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