ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (December 7, 2018) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies roster build continued Friday with another pair of experienced USL veterans in midfielder Yann Ekra and defender Ryan Felix to complement the squad that is already in place for the new season.
Ekra and Felix bring a combined 244 matches of USL Championship experience to Tampa Bay.
Ekra, 27, spent four seasons with Penn FC (then the Harrisburg City Islanders) from 2012 to 2015 before joining the Charlotte Independence for the last three seasons. A durable player, Ekra made at least 21 appearances in each of his seven professional seasons so far. From the center forward position, Ekra has 16 goals and 13 assists in his USL career.
Born in Côte d’Ivoire, Ekra began his career in Europe with the academy and reserve teams of Olympique Lyonnais, Châteauroux and Hull City before moving to the United States in 2012.
“Yann brings valuable USL experience to our roster from his time with Penn and Charlotte,” Rowdies Head Coach Neill Collins said. “He brings strength, speed and technical skill to our roster, as well as the ability to beat a defender one-on-one, which is important for how we want to play.”
Felix, 25, has four years of USL Championship experience on his resume, playing a pair of seasons with Orange County SC (then the OC Blues) in 2015 and 2016, then one season each with the Rochester Rhinos and San Antonio FC.
A sturdy 6-foot-4 center back, Felix earned second-team All-USL honors in 2017.
“Ryan is at the perfect age for a center back,” Collins said. “He has great USL experience and was part of a tremendous Rochester defense in 2017. He’s a proper defender that takes a lot of pride in defending his goal and he’ll be a great addition to our back line.”
With the additions of Ekra and Felix, the Rowdies current roster is below:
Defenders (2): Ryan Felix, David Najem
Midfielders (5): Yann Ekra, Leo Fernandes, Dominic Oduro, Kwadwo Poku*, Zach Steinberger
Forwards (4): Brandon Allen, Sebastian Guenzatti, Antoine Hoppenot, Malik Johnson
*Kwadwo Poku signed a multi-year contract in 2018 and remains under contract for 2019.