Tampa Bay Rowdies goalkeeper Jeff Attinella has been named the North American Soccer League Defensive Player of the Week for the fifth time this season and the seventh time in his career, the league announced on Monday. The five honors are the most by a defensive player in the NASL this season and tied for most overall with San Antonio’s Pablo Campos, who has claimed the offensive award five times.
“I'm really honored to win this award,” said Attinella. “This was obviously a huge week for us and we needed to get positive results to clinch a bye into the semis. I'm glad that I could do my part in helping that happen, but overall I thought it was a great team effort.”
The University of South Florida alumni had two great games last week, helping Tampa Bay secure second place in the standings as well as a spot in the NASL Semifinals. On Wednesday night, Attinella made seven saves in the 1-1 draw against the RailHawks, including a spectacular series of saves in the second half as the Rowdies were able to pick up the point that secured them the First Round bye.
On Saturday, the Clearwater native picked up his 11th shutout of the season and 16th clean sheet of his career in Carolina. His three saves in the 0-0 draw helped Tampa Bay end the regular season in second place, as well as extend the Rowdies unbeaten streak to six games.
Attinella, who has started all 28 games this season, finished first in the NASL Regular Season with 118 saves and second in the league with a goals against average of 1.07. The honor marks the 12th time a Tampa Bay player has received a weekly NASL offensive or defensive award, the most for any team in the league in 2012.
The Rowdies will play the first leg of the NASL Semifinals the weekend of October 6, with the opponent and location to be determined. The Rowdies will then host the second leg of the NASL Semifinal on Saturday, October 13 at Al Lang Stadium.