Rowdies Announce Initial 2023 Roster Decisions
December 2, 2022 - United Soccer League Championship (USL) - Tampa Bay Rowdies News Release
Off-season moves are underway for the Tampa Bay Rowdies as the club prepares for its seventh season in the USL Championship, with the announcement of initial roster decisions released on Friday.
Already under contract for the 2023 season are goalkeeper Raiko Arozarena and defenders Conner Antley and 2022 USL Championship All-League First Team member Aaron Guillen. Joining them are midfielders Lewis Hilton, Nicky Law, Jake Areman, 2022 USL Championship MVP Leo Fernandes as well as forwards Jordan Adebayo-Smith and Rowdies' all-time scoring leader Sebastain Guenzatti. Adebayo-Smith spent 2022 on loan to New York Red Bulls II, scoring 7 goals in 33 appearances.
Midfielder Yann Ekra will also remain in Tampa Bay next year after the club exercised its option for the veteran, pending league and federation approval. Ekra ranks second all-time in USL Championship regular-season appearances (246).
"Every year the roster is built in a fashion that we want to continue having that consistency, but more important than consistency is getting better," said Rowdies Head Coach Neill Collins. "I don't like consistency for consistency's sake... We've got fantastic players coming back, guys that are so highly valued around the league and are incredibly important to us."
Goalkeepers Phil Breno and CJ Cochran, defender Robert Castellanos, and forward Jake LaCava have all departed the Rowdies after completing season-long loans from their parent clubs. LaCava recently moved to Major League Soccer's Inter Miami CF via trade following a stellar 2022 campaign in which he bagged 12 goals and was named a finalist for USL Championship Young Player of the Year.
Additionally, defender Timmy Mehl, midfielder Junior Etou, and forward Kyle Greig will not return to the Rowdies after the club declined contract options for all three.
Defenders Jordan Scarlett, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, and Ian Antley, as well as midfielders Laurence Wyke and Matt Srbely, and forward Steevan Dos Santos have also departed the Rowdies with the conclusion of their contracts.
"We wish all the players leaving the Rowdies all the best and thank them for their contributions," said Collins. "There have been a few tough decisions I've had to make, and there are a few players leaving under different circumstances that I'd have loved to have kept. My job is to do what's best for the Rowdies and what's going to make the club successful."
Head Coach Neill Collins - now entering his fifth full season in charge - and staff continue to work toward securing more returning players and new faces for the squad in 2023. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for additional roster updates.
The Rowdies fielded the best attack in either conference this year, posting a club-record 73 goals during the regular season. For the third straight season, the Rowdies faced off with Louisville City FC in the Eastern Conference championship final but came up short in a 1-0 defeat.
"Not lifting a trophy this year makes us want to get back to work even harder this off-season," said Collins. "It's not always about adding new players. It's about making the players we've got better, and how I can get better as a coach. How can we maximize everything that we do? That's what excites me every season."
"We have pretty distinct values as a club. We always want to look at those values and see if the players we're bringing on have all of them and do they particularly add in one of those areas very strongly. It's a very simple but effective way of adding to the squad."
The schedule for the 2023 USL Championship season is expected to be unveiled in the new year. In the meantime, fans can secure season tickets by visiting rowdiessoccer.com/seasontickets. Fans may also contact the ticket office by emailing email@example.com or calling 727-222-2000 during regular business hours. Holiday Packs, which include two tickets for the Rowdies 2023 home opener are also available for purchase at rowdiessoccer.com/holiday-pack.
Current 2023 Rowdies Roster:
Goalkeepers: Raiko Arozarena
Defenders: Aaron Guillen, Conner Antley
Midfielders: Jake Areman, Yann Ekra, Leo Fernandes, Lewis Hilton, Nicky Law
Forwards: Jordan Adebayo-Smith, Sebastian Guenzatti
• Discuss this story on the United Soccer League Championship message board...
United Soccer League Championship Stories from December 2, 2022
- San Antonio FC Signs Midfielder David Loera to Extension - San Antonio FC
- World Cup Preview: United States v Netherlands - Sacramento Republic FC
- Landon Donovan Elevated to Full Time Role as Executive VP of Soccer Operations - San Diego Loyal
- Rowdies Announce Initial 2023 Roster Decisions - Tampa Bay Rowdies
- Republic FC Adds Forward Russell Cicerone Ahead of 2023 Season - Sacramento Republic FC
- Oakland Roots Sports Club Announce 2023 Roster Updates - Oakland Roots
- Rising Transfers Forward Greg Hurst to New Mexico United - Phoenix Rising FC
- New Mexico United Announces Acquisition of Title-Winning Foward Greg Hurst in Transfer from Phoenix Rising - New Mexico United
- Mikey Lopez Signs New Multi-Year Deal with Legion FC - Birmingham Legion FC
- LouCity Re-Signs All-Leaguer Totsch to Multi-Year Contract - Louisville City FC
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.