ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (January 17, 2018) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies’ modern era scoring leader will return to make a run at the all-time Rowdies record book, with Georgi Hristov agreeing to a new contract for his sixth season in Tampa Bay. This signing is pending federation and league approval. Per club and league policy, further contract details were not disclosed.
Hristov, already Tampa Bay’s record holder for goals in the Modern Era with 53 goals, is just four goals short of equaling Derek Smethurst’s all-time Rowdies historical record of 57 goals. Smethurst, who played for the Rowdies from 1975 to 1978, currently holds the 40-year-old record.
“The Rowdies are very special to me and entering my sixth season with the club, I want to bring a championship to this area,” said Hristov. “All the love and support I have received from the fans has been amazing and they’re what push me to do better and better each season. It’s an honor to play for Bill Edwards and his historic team.”
Last season, Hristov scored 15 goals in 32 league appearances, his best scoring output as a member of the Rowdies. Hristov goals proved to be decisive last season, as out of his 15 league goals, seven of them were either game-winning or game-tying goals.
“We’re all happy to see Georgi back with the Rowdies,” Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “He’s been a major part of our team for the last few years and we’re all excited to watch him chase down Derek’s historical record and continue to represent our club.”
Hristov, 32, joined the Rowdies in 2013 from Lokomotiv Sofia in his native Bulgaria. In his first season with the club, Hristov earned the NASL’s Golden Ball award, given to the league’s most valuable player.
He is the 13th member of Tampa Bay’s 2017 record-setting team roster that is set to return in 2018.
“We’ve been waiting for Georgi as one of our last signing to announce,” said Rowdies Chairman & CEO Bill Edwards. “Georgi has become one of the Rowdies all-time best players, a team whose rich history dates back to 1975. With just five more goals, Georgi will make all-time Rowdies history and hold the scoring record, which was set back in 1978. We’re proud and happy to have Georgi back in our amazing dream team that we’ve been able to put together this year. The Rowdies are the team to beat in my opinion this year. It’s all up to Coach Stuart Campbell and the team to get it done. You can’t find a better team in the country. For all the teams planning on coming to Al Lang to beat us, we wish you well because you won’t be able to do it!”