The Tampa Bay Rowdies are now looking for a new head coach and general manager. The people filling those positions for the team were let go on Friday, according to a report in the Tampa Tribune. Owner Bill Edwards said in a news release, “Decisions like these are never easy, but I hope this move shows both the players and the fans that my commitment to creating a world-class professional soccer experience remains undaunted.”
Head coach Thomas Rongen and general manager Farrukh Quraishi were fired after the team had a disappointing start to the NASL’s fall season. Quraishi was a former player with the original Rowdies in the 1970s. Rongen was once the head coach for’ D.C. United and came to the Rowdies after leading the under-20 U.S. men’s national team.
Edwards said, “I wish both Farrukh and Thomas well, but it was clear the team was not performing at the level they should be and could be. My goal from day one has been to win the NASL Soccer Bowl Championship. That has not changed.” Possible candidates to fill the jobs have not yet been announced.
The main reason for the change in leadership is purported to be the slow start the team has had this season. On Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Rowdies lost to Indy Eleven 2-0, breaking that team’s five game losing streak. The previous Saturday, after the Rowdies lost to Fort Lauderdale, sparking Rongen to make several changes to the lineup for the game against Indy.
Before the season, Edwards invested more than $2 million in the renovation of Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg. Edwards said he believes the team has the roster to make the league’s four-team playoffs at the end of the season. The Rowdies finished second in the spring season.
In his statement, Edwards said, “As many in the community know, I am a fixer. I take broken things and do my best to turn them around.’ He continued, “When I identify a problem, I move swiftly and decisively to correct it. And I stand by my decisions. With the Rowdies, I felt it was important to make these changes now.”