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Rowdies prepare for next week’s opener by showing new threads

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Do clothes make the contender?

The Tampa Bay Rowdies showed off a new alternate kit Friday night in preparation for next Saturday’s season opener against the Indy 11. More than 1,000 fans showed up to be introduced to the team — with nine newcomers — at the Mahaffey Theatre.

The Rowdies played an interesting preseason, being shut out three times by MLS teams (two losses and a draw). But Tampa Bay swept two college teams and went 1-0-2 in a trip to England.

The team announced defender Tamika Mkandawire as its captain.

The Rowdies hope that last year’s scoring woes are over after adding Tom Heinemann and Danny Mwanga. Frank Sanfilippo returns as a defender, and Freddy Adu will have a full season in midfield.

Stuart Campbell returns as coach.

Saturday’s game is at 7:30 p.m.

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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