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Rowdies lose new midfielder to El Salvadorian nat’l team for summer

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The Tampa Bay Rowdies’ newly acquired midfielder, Richard Menjivar, will miss the rest of the Rowdies’ spring season, and presumably the beginning of their fall season, to join the El Salvadorian national team for the summer. La Selecta, as the team is affectionately known, will be preparing for and playing in both Gold Cup and World Cup qualifiers over the next couple months. Their first match will be a friendly against Chile this Friday, June 5, the day before the Rowdies take on FC Edmonton in their second to last match of the spring season.

So far, the only stat that Menjivar has racked up in his three games for the Rowdies is a yellow card, but you can tell when you see him play that he’s got talent, especially when it comes to handling the ball. In 2014 he started 19 games for the NASL Champs, the San Antonio Scorpions, whom the Rowdies acquired him from. And he played for the red-white-and-blue’s Under-18 squad — having been born in L.A. to El Salvadorian parents — prior to fully committing to El Salvador’s senior national team.

“Every time I’m called up to the national team, it’s a huge honor,” said Menjivar to RowdiesSoccer.com.

So far he’s got 20 caps, or games under his belt, for La Selecta, currently ranked No. 84 in the FIFA World Rankings. In June they’ll play Saint Kitts twice for a chance to advance to the Third Round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. In July they’ll travel to California, Houston and Toronto to take on Canada, Costa Rica and Jamaica, respectively, as part of their Gold Cup campaign.

As for the Rowdies, the stood-up prom date, who picked up Menjivar to add depth to their midfield, and who will end their spring season on June 13, and begin their fall season on the Fourth of July, they’ll still presumably have their new midfielder come playoff time — as long as they make it in. The Rowdies have fallen from second to fourth in the NASL standings over the past month.

Devon Crumpacker is a Tampa Bay based writer and reporter for Extensive Enterprises Media. He primarily covers Pinellas County politics for SaintPetersblog.com, but also makes time to write the occasional bar review for FloridaBarTab.com. He lives in St. Petersburg with his fiance, Sydney. To contact, e-mail devon@floridapolitics.com, or visit his Twitter page @DevonCrumpacker.

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