ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (October 19, 2018) — After six incredible seasons, Georgi Hristov’s time with the Tampa Bay Rowdies has come to an end.
Hristov is out of contract following the conclusion of the 2018 season and will not be offered a new one.
The Bulgarian forward departs the Rowdies as the club’s all-time leader in goals scored with 60 and Modern Era record holder in appearances with 173.
“Georgi has been a perfect role model on and off the field for the Rowdies and the word ‘legend’ perfectly describes his time at the club,” Rowdies head coach Neill Collins said. “Watching him break the all-time goal scoring record was one of few highlights this season. Playing beside Georgi and then coaching him has been a huge privilege."
Hristov came to the Rowdies in 2013 and marked himself as a fan favorite almost immediately when he scored the game-winning goal in the Rowdies’ Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup upset of the Seattle Sounders in May of that year.
He went on to win the 2013 NASL Golden Ball award as league MVP with 12 goals and eight assists.
In 2014, Hristov he scored nine goals and added four assists.
On August 17, 2016, he made his 100th appearance for the Rowdies, becoming the fourth player in the Modern Era to reach the plateau, joining Takuya Yamada, Frankie Sanfilippo and Keith Savage. That group has since been joined by Matt Pickens.
Hristov remained with the Rowdies in 2017 and scored a career-high 15 goals in leading Tampa Bay to a third-place finish in the Eastern Conference and a conference semifinals appearance.
This year, Hristov led Tampa Bay with seven goals in 27 appearances. He became the Rowdies’ all-time leading goalscorer in July of this year, surpassing Derek Smethurst’s long-standing record of 57 goals.
Hristov was the Rowdies’ leading scorer in five of his six seasons with Tampa Bay, falling short only in 2015.
Apart from his on-field successes, Hristov has always been one of one of the most popular Rowdies players with his eye-catching tattoos and ever-changing hairstyles.
The Rowdies wish Hristov nothing but the best and thank him for all he achieved in his time with Tampa Bay.
The Rowdies will honor Hristov's service with the club in the 2019 season.