FC Tampa Bay’s goal has been to give the Tampa Bay community a vehicle to unite together with a common identity and create special memories for families and friends through the wonderful sport of soccer. And in doing so, FC Tampa Bay’s ownership group wanted to honor those in the Tampa Bay area who have come before us and supported the sport of soccer in an influential way.
In the club’s first ever home game, the first of only a limited number of Striped Scarfs was presented to former Rowdies owner Cornelia Corbett.
In 2010, Club President Andrew Nestor presented a Striped Scarf to honorees Rob Higgins, the Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission and Colonel David P. Pavey, Commander of the 927th Air Refueling Wing at MacDill Air Force Base. Higgins has worked with Nestor and the club ownership group since 2008 to make the team a reality and ensure a strong future. Colonel Pavey is responsible for the worldwide readiness of a combined Reserve and civilian wing of approximately 800 people and is based in Tampa, Florida.
Monsignor Laurence Higgins, a celebrated member of the Tampa Bay community for half a century, was honored in 2010, as was the late Tom McEwen, the former Tampa Tribune sports editor and columnist who helped bring media attention to the sport for many years.
ESPN’s Rob Stone, a local resident and soccer enthusiast, and Martin Gramatica, a former Tampa Bay Buccaneers placekicker and avid supporter of soccer, both received scarves on the field pre-game in 2010.
Other professional athletes have taken part in the Striped Scarf ceremonies as well, including avid soccer fans Buccaneers All-Pro cornerback Ronde Barber and Tampa Bay Rays outfielder B.J. Upton.
FC Tampa Bay’s legacy partners have supported the club's rebirth and those sponsors, including Mainsail Suites, Lotto, Budweiser, United World Soccer and Wellspring Pharmaceutical have all been honored.
Former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and current city of St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster both have been the recipients of honorary scarves for their unwavering support to the club since its revival.
Ralph's Mob has helped spread the word about the club and in 2010 Ralph's Mob president Carrie Wininsky was presented with a scarf on the field for their dedication.
Many VIPs have also supported the team through its growth, whether by attending matches or showing their support in other ways. Former United States World Cup player Roy Wegerle, Miss Florida 2011 Kristina Janolo, and a long-list of celebrities have been to games and in some cases, taken part in the club’s annual Celebrity Match at halftime of a home game. Team owners and executives from the other Tampa Bay professional teams, including the Rays, Lightning and Buccaneers, have also enjoyed the atmosphere at a home game and shown support for professional soccer.
One local celebrity has shown his support for the team in a different way, but to an audience of millions of people. Tampa Bay native and actor Patrick Wilson, the son of longtime Fox 13 anchor John Wilson, is the lead actor on the new CBS show, “A Gifted Man.” Wilson had CBS executives call the team to send along some official team gear so that he could wear his favorite team’s merchandise on the show. One of the club’s official t-shirts actually appeared on an episode earlier this fall during the show’s prime-time slot.