ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (January 4, 2018) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies have made their first new addition of the offseason, welcoming forward Jochen Graf to the club ahead of the 2018 United Soccer League season, pending leaguer and federation approval. Per league and club policy, further contract details will not be disclosed.
Graf, 28, scored 11 goals for the Rochester Rhinos last season, nearly one third of the Rhinos’ 37 total goals. He led the team to a fourth place finish in the Eastern Conference and scored the opening goal in a first round USL Playoffs victory over the Charlotte Independence.
“We scored the most goals in modern-era club history last season, but we want to score even more goals next season,” said Chairman & CEO Bill Edwards. “Jochen will make us even more dangerous as we look to bring the 2018 USL Cup to Al Lang Stadium. Our fans will love seeing his energy and ability to score exciting goals.”
Of his 11 goals last season, six came with his right foot, two with his left and three with his head, showing good versatility in attack.
“We’re excited to have Jochen on our roster for 2018,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “He’s the kind of forward you love to have on your team because he works hard for every second he’s on the pitch and always gets himself into good positions.”
Graf is a Texas native that played college soccer at Bradley University before heading to Europe to play for Germany’s TSV Hertha Walheim and then Sweden’s Lidköpings FK, Carlstad United BK and Oskarshamns AIK. He later returned to the United States in 2016 with Rochester.
“I am so excited to have signed with the Rowdies and can’t wait to work with the top-class players and staff we have here,” said Graf. “I had the chance to play at Al Lang this past season, and saw firsthand how terrific the supporters and atmosphere are. I look forward to getting on the pitch, scoring goals, and helping this team win trophies in 2018.”
With Graf’s addition, Tampa Bay’s roster now includes 12 players with more set to be announced in the coming days. COME ON YOU ROWDIES!