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Rowdies latest re-signings include Tamika Mikandawire, Matt Pickens for ’17

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The Tampa Bay Rowdies, in the middle of tweaking next year’s lineup, have brought back the captain and the keeper.

The Rowdies announced the re-signings of captain Tamika Mkandawire, a defender, and goalkeeper Matt Pickens. The Rowdies now have signed 10 players equaling 24 seasons of service to the team.

Since joining the club midway through the 2014 season, Mkandawire has appeared in 75 matches in League and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play. He served as club captain in 2016, leading from the heart of the Rowdies’ back line.

“Since he arrived in 2014, Tam has been central to how we want to play at the back,” Rowdies’ coach Stuart Campbell said. “He’s a veteran of the game that leads by example and keeps everything ticking on the field.”

Pickens has appeared in 82 games for the Rowdies in the last three seasons of League and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play. Pickens’ contract expired at the conclusion of the 2016 regular season, but he has opted to return to the club as a free agent for its first season as a member of the United Soccer League.

“Matt brings us consistency at a very important position on the field,” Campbell said. “He’s a great leader for our team because of the high level he’s played at throughout his career. He’s great at organizing the back line and always puts the work in during the week to get ready for each match.”

The Tampa Bay Rowdies kick off their inaugural USL Season in March 2017.

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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