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Rowdies’ Edwards says his clock is ticking faster than ex-team bosses

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In the end, Bill Edwards did not see enough from the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

And so, in an effort to jump-start his sagging soccer team, he made changes. Edwards has fired head coach Thomas Rongen and general manager Farrukh Quraishi. Stuart Campbell will serve as the Rowdies’ interim coach in their game against Minnesota Saturday night.

“We had differences of opinions,” Edwards said on You Tube. “Their opinions were they had a five-year plan. I have a one-year plan. I’m 70 years old. I don’t have five-year plans in my lifetime.

“My one-year plan is to win the championship. Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg deserve a championship team. We have a championship team. We should be able to be in the championships and play in the championships and hopefully win the Cup.”

The Rowdies were competitive in the Spring Season, finishing second by one point to the Cosmos despite a largely new roster. But the Fall has been a different story. The Rowdies are in 10th place of 11 teams in the NASL and have been the lowest scoring team in the league.

The losses bothered Edwards, he said, but not as much as the constant tinkering in the lineup.

“I never knew what team I was going to have on the field week to week,” Edwards said. “There is no continuity as far as I was concerned.”

For Edwards, this was the time to make changes.

“We have time now to make adjustments and still get in the playoffs and win the championship,” Edwards said. “If I wait til the end of the year and we continue losing like we have, we’re not going to have an opportunity. This is a crucial time for this team to make changes to make decisions. We want to win.”

Both Quraishi and Rongen came in during the off-season, and both praised Edward’s vision and his drive. But the team stalled, and Rongren readily admitted he was still seeking the proper chemistry.

“We’ve got great players, great coaching staff, great field, a great community,” Edwards said. “We have everything we have to have. It’s up to those guys to leave it on the field to play every single week and win.”

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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