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Rowdies add forward Eliot Richards from England for spring

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Tampa Bay Rowdies head coach Stuart Campbell has reached into his past for the team’s latest signing, forward Eliot Richards.

The Rowdies have signed Richards for the 2016 spring season with an option for the fall.

Richards, who most recently played for Bath City on loan from Cheltenham Town in England, has had various stints with clubs throughout the England Football League. Most notably, Richards spent five seasons with the Bristol Rovers, the team most closely associated with Campbell.

Richards and Campbell overlapped at Rovers, with Richards making 112 appearances for the club. Campbell made 288 appearances for Rovers, serving as captain and caretaker manager before departing to join the Rowdies.

“Eliot is someone that we believe has a role to play with both our first team and Rowdies 2 in the NPSL,” Campbell said. “As we begin the process of building Rowdies 2, we looked at a few young players while we were in England and it just so happens that Eliot became available sooner than we expected. I know him well and he falls into both the NASL and NPSL categories for us.”

Richards’ best statistical season came in 2011-2012 when he made 32 appearances and 18 starts for Bristol playing in the English second league, scoring seven goals.

The Rowdies opened up their 2016 NASL Spring Season with a 0-0 draw at home against Indy Eleven. Up next, they’ll travel to face Miami FC on Saturday before returning home to host FC Edmonton on April 16.

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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