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Goaltender Diego Restrepo coming back to Rowdies

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Diego Restrepo is coming home.

Restrepo, a former Rowdies’ goalkeeper, was re-obtained from Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday.

Restrepo was in his first season with the Strikers and played in 11 NASL matches and four Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup matches.

“Diego is a goalkeeper I know personally from playing with him in 2013 and from serving as an assistant coach in 2014,” said Rowdies head coach Stuart Campbell. “He’s a great goalkeeper, and he’s played well this season, particularly in the U.S. Open Cup. We’ve brought him here because he makes our squad better.”

His best performances this year came in the U.S. Open Cup, where he led the Strikers to the quarterfinals. Restrepo prevailed in penalty kicks in back-to-back rounds, stonewalling the Richmond Kickers (three saves in four attempts) and D.C. United (one save), as well as beating Orlando City SC in stoppage time. His performance against Richmond earned him Player of the Round honors.

“I’m excited to return to a club that I know very well,” said Restrepo. “The staff, players and fans at the Rowdies have always been great with me, so it’ll be an easy transition. I can’t wait to start training with my new teammates and most importantly help the club reach the playoffs.”

Restrepo, 28, was Tampa Bay’s starting goalkeeper in the 2013 season and also spent 2014 with the Rowdies, but was sidelined by an Achilles injury.

He played for the University of South Florida before transferring and winning a NCAA National Championship at the University of Virginia in 2009. He spent the early portion of his professional career in Colombia and Venezuela before joining the Rowdies in 2013.

After leaving Tampa Bay, Restrepo had a brief stint with the USL’s Charlotte Independence before heading to Venezuela to play with Metropolitanos in 2015.

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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