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Tampa Bay Rowdies finalize 2017 Opening Day roster

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The Tampa Bay Rowdies round out their roster by signing three more players ahead of next weekend’s season opener, pending league and federation approval.

Forward Martin Paterson, goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald and defender Kyle Porter have all earned contracts after lengthy trials with the Rowdies. The trio arrived in February to train with Tampa Bay and play in preseason matches.

Paterson, 29, has appeared in four matches as a trialist and scored the Rowdies’ game-winning goal against the University of Tampa March 4. Paterson is a Northern Ireland international that brings Premier League experience to the Rowdies, having played for clubs including Stoke City and Burnley, among others.

Fitzgerald, also 29, arrives in Tampa Bay after spending the previous six seasons with the Carolina RailHawks, now known as North Carolina FC. He appeared in four matches as a trialist, including keeping a clean sheet against the University of Tampa Spartans March 4. In his 229 minutes of preseason action, Fitzgerald just conceded just two goals from open play, one each against the Philadelphia Union and Jacksonville Armada.

Porter, 27, appeared in four matches as a right back for the Rowdies this preseason. His playing career includes stints with FC Edmonton, the Atlanta Silverbacks and Ottawa Fury FC after turning pro with Energie Cottbus in the German 4th division as an 18-year old. Born in Toronto, Porter has earned seven caps with the Canadian National Team.

“These three players have been training with us for a several weeks now,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “They’ve fit in quickly with our group and played well in our preseason matches. With Martin, Akira and Kyle all signing, we’re happy with our roster as we head into next weekend’s USL season opener.”

The Rowdies head to Miami this weekend to take on Miami FC in their final preseason tuneup before opening the USL season at Al Lang Stadium Saturday, March 25, against Orlando City B.

For tickets, call (727) 222-2000 or click here.

Tampa Bay Rowdies 2017 roster

Goalkeepers (3): Nico Campbell, Akira Fitzgerald, Matt Pickens

Defenders (7): Luke Boden, Neill Collins, Darnell King, Damion Lowe, Tamika Mkandawire, Kyle Porter, Zac Portillos

Midfielders (9): Justin Chavez, Joe Cole, Leo Fernandes, Darwin Jones, Alex Morrell, Michael Nanchoff, Keith Savage, Marcel Schäfer, Martin Vingaard

Forwards (3): Deshorn Brown, Georgi Hristov, Martin Paterson


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