Countdown to Kickoff - 2 days until the Season Opener
With the season opener just two days away, FC Tampa Bay got its first look at its new home on Thursday morning.
“It’s a lovely environment here at Al Lang Stadium, very picturesque,” said head coach Ricky Hill. “We’re hoping to produce a brand of football that will go with the surroundings.”
The team practiced on the pitch at Al Lang Stadium for the first time during a two-hour session in front of fans and local media.
“It feels good,” said goalkeeper Daryl Sattler. “It’s new, our first day on it. It’s a good place for us, a good atmosphere, especially with the fans closer to the pitch. We’re counting the hours down to Saturday.”
SANFILIPPO NAMED TEAM CAPTAIN
Defender Frankie Sanfilippo has been named team captain for FC Tampa Bay for 2011, head coach Ricky Hill announced on Thursday.
Sanfilippo joined FCTB this offseason after playing for the Rochester Rhinos in 2010. Sanfilippo originally signed with the Rhinos in 2005 and was named to the USL All-Star Team in 2006. In 2007, Frankie moved to the Carolina RailHawks, where he played as team captain until his move to the Charleston Battery in 2009.
HAYES SIGNS CONTRACT
Assistant coach David Hayes has signed a player contract with FC Tampa Bay. Hayes played several games during the preseason and played in 14 matches last season for Carolina.
Hayes' primary function with the club remains Assistant Coach and Assistant Director of Player Development, but he will be on the active team roster and available to play if needed.
Hayes began his extensive soccer career at Southern Maryland Community College followed by Wingate University. He received top honors at the collegiate level, including setting the national scoring record in 1996 with 53 goals, captained the 1995 and 1996 SMCC squads and was named First-Team All-American in 1995, 1996 and 1998. Hayes was drafted by D.C. United in 1999 in the third round of the MLS College Draft. He made 15 appearances between 1999, when the squad won the MLS Cup Championship, and 2000. During his time with D.C. United, Hayes also made 14 appearances for MLS Pro-40 and scored six goals.
From 2001-2004, Hayes played for the Chicago Fire (2001), Richmond Kickers (2002, 2004) and the Rochester Rhinos (2003), making more than 100 appearances and scoring 21 goals. In 2005, Hayes signed with the
Atlanta Silverbacks, playing for four seasons from 2005-2008. Hayes received top honors while with the Silverbacks, including 2007 USL First Division (USL-1) Defender of the Year, 2007 USL-1 First Team season honors, 2008 Co-Captain, 2008 runner up for USL-1 Defender of the Year and 2008 USL-1 First Team.
Hayes joined the Portland Timbers in 2009 and captained the Timbers to the 2009 USL-1 Commissioner’s Cup, 2009 Cascadia Cup and a 24-game unbeaten streak. Hayes made 30 appearances for Portland, including playing in his 250th career game in USL-1. He was also a finalist for USL-1 Defender of the Year and made the USL-1 First Team for his third consecutive year.
HOME OPENER NOTES
Here are some of the things to look forward to at Saturday night's home opener at Al Lang:
There is still time to purchase your tickets for the home opener against Montreal this Saturday. Call (813) 287-1539 to purchase your tickets or click here to order your seats.
Pre-game autograph session
6:15 - 6:45 p.m.
Former Rowdies Neill Roberts and Peter Ward, along with ESPN personality Rob Stone, will be signing autographs on the concourse prior to kickoff.
Carrissa Peros will be performing both anthems live prior to the game. Carrissa will also be signing autographs on the concourse at halftime. Check out her website at www.carrissamusic.com.
Schedule Magnet Giveaway
The first 2,500 fans will receive a 2011 Home Schedule magnet, courtesy of Gallagher & Associates law firm.
All fans will receive a 2011 roster card, with photos of the entire 2011 squad
Be sure to stop by the FCTB Merchandise Booth on the main concourse for all of your favorite FC Tampa Bay merchandise, including the latest in official team gear.
Stop by the customer service booth on the main concourse to sign up for your chance to win awesome prizes courtesy of FC Tampa Bay and its sponsors. And listen up during the match for the Jimmy John's Lucky Row contest, Courigan's Fan of the Game or for more information on the Ferg's Official Post-Game Party.
The game will be live in both Tampa and Orlando on Bright House Sports Network. J.B. Long handles the play-by-play, with former Rowdies goalkeeper Winston DuBose providing color analysis and Victoria Lim reporting from the field.
Mike Pepper will be calling the game live on 1010 Sports.