ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (October 23, 2017) — With a summer of high-level competitive soccer under their belts, several members of the inaugural Tampa Bay Rowdies Under-23 team have returned to college campuses across the nation and make a huge impact on their teams.
The Rowdies U23 team competes in the fully-amateur USL Premier Development League, allowing college players to participate in the summer and retain their NCAA eligibility.
Ricky Lopez-Espin has become one of the stars for No. 25 Creighton, scoring nine goals and tallying two assists in 14 games for the Bluejays. Lopez-Espin was limited to only a couple of appearances with Rowdies U23 this season, but has excelled in his final season with Creighton.
Central midfielder Andrew Samuels has played 14 of 15 games for the No. 3 Maryland Terrapins as the ACC powerhouse gears up for a postseason run. Maryland has kept clean sheets in more than half of its matches this season.
Kevin Mendoza was one of the best players for the Rowdies U23s and he’s had a strong season for Liberty, playing 13 matches and scoring seven goals with three assists. This summer, he had eight goals and three assists in 11 games for Tampa Bay.
In Florida, defender Preston Kilwein has scored three goals in 13 games for Florida Gulf Coast.