While many of the Rowdies players take a break from competitive soccer during the offseason, two current members of the team have been busy indoors.
Forward Matt Clare and defender JP Rodrigues are playing in the Major Indoor Soccer League, with both among their respective team’s leaders.
Clare, who plays for the Norfolk SharX, leads the team with 12 goals and stands second in points with 28. Clare has played in 15 games for Norfolk in his first season and has scored points in eight of his last 10 matches, including a hat trick at Syracuse on January 15.
“The season for me has really given me the opportunity to learn how to play in tight spaces,” said Clare. “It’s something that I needed to work on and everybody plays defense in this league so it’s also been a key factor to help me improve hopefully for next season.”
Rodrigues, in his fourth season with the Milwaukee Wave, ranks tied for sixth on the team with 18 points in 13 games played. His seven assists are tied for fourth on the club.
Rodrigues helped the Wave to the league title a year ago and Milwaukee sits atop the standings this year with a league-best 12-2 record.
“We have basically the same team as last season and we haven’t really skipped a beat since winning the title last season,” said Rodrigues. “We are playing really good soccer right now.”
The 2011-12 MISL regular season began on November 3 and concludes on March 4. This year’s postseason begins on March 9.
Both Clare and Rodrigues are excited to get back to Tampa Bay for the 2012 Rowdies season.
“For me playing in Tampa is a dream come true and I look forward to coming home,” said Rodrigues. “We had an outstanding year last year and I think we are going to have another successful season.”
“I am looking forward to it being my second year in,” said Clare. “There are still guys on our team that have been in the league for a long time and have played in the top level; guys that I look up to. I’m really looking forward to it.”