ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (January 11, 2018) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies have signed talented young defender David Najem ahead of the 2018 United Soccer League season, the club announced Thursday. Per club and league policy, further contract details were not disclosed. The transfer is pending league and federation approval.
"I’m really excited to be a part of the Tampa Bay Rowdies with its rich soccer history and tradition," said Najem. "The club has been so competitive and successful year in and year out. I am really looking forward to this new challenge in my career and working with my new teammates and staff."
Najem, 25, comes to Tampa Bay after playing the past two seasons with the New York Red Bulls II. In his two years there, Najem was one of the most reliable defenders at the club, making 52 appearances and playing more than 4,000 minutes for one of the most successful clubs in the league. He helped the Red Bulls II reach the USL Eastern Conference Final in 2017 and to a USL Championship in 2016.
“David is a very talented young defender,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “He brings a lot of versatility and skill to the table. He’s had success in the USL and he knows the league really well for a player of his age. He fits well into our system and will deliver what we look for from our outside backs.”
Najem played college soccer at Columbia University in New York before heading to Europe for two seasons with FC Eintracht Bamberg in the German lower divisions.
While right back is his preferred position, Najem is also capable of playing on the left and in the midfield when necessary. Najem joins a Rowdies back line that includes Neill Collins, Kyle Curinga, Hunter Gorskie and Zac Portillos thus far.
“We saw how good of a player David was in 2017, playing very well against us in the playoffs,” said Rowdies Chairman & CEO Bill Edwards. “It’s important we build a team that is exciting for our fans and also hungry to bring a championship to this area.”