The Tampa Bay Rowdies announced on Monday that the club has signed veteran defender Jay Needham to a three-year deal through the 2015 season.
“First off, I want to say thanks to the entire Puerto Rico Islanders organization especially Andy Guillemard and Adrian Whittbread," said Needham. "I am very excited for this new chapter in my career here in Tampa Bay. The Rowdies have a rich history and I am honored to now be part of such a great club. I am looking forward to adding to what the team accomplished last year and hopefully bring many more championships home to Tampa Bay”
Needham (6-2, 180), originally from Fort Worth, joins the Rowdies after playing both the 2011 and 2012 seasons for the Puerto Rico Islanders, where he logged more than 2,000 minutes each season in NASL and CONCACAF Champions League play.
“Jay is a quality, experienced center back that has proven to be a winner in our league,” said Rowdies CEO and General Manager Andrew Nestor. “He helps strengthen our team’s spine up the middle of the field in pursuit of another NASL championship.”
The 28-year-old central defender played his college career at Southern Methodist University and was drafted in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft by DC United. He joined the Islanders that same year, helping the club reach the USL-1 semi-final, as well as being named the league’s Rookie of the Year. Needham then went on to play for the Norwegian 1st Division club Alta IF for two seasons before returning to the United States to join the Austin Aztex, finishing one point away from the 2010 USSF D-2 Regular Season title.