Portuguese football legend Francisco Marcos is coming back to St. Petersburg, as head of the Tampa Bay Rowdies international development effort.
Announcemnt of the new hire came Friday from Rowdies President and General Manager Farrukh Quraishi and owner Bill Edwards.
Marcos, a founder of the United Soccer League, brings more than four decades of experience in developing and promoting soccer in the United States. In addition to winning the Werner Fricker Builder Award, highest personal honor from U.S. Soccer, the sport’s American governing body, Marco was also named to the USASA Hall of Fame in 2013 and as a life member of U.S. Soccer last year.
“The St. Pete-Clearwater area is not as well-known as Orlando and Miami,” Marcos said in a statement. “My hope is to use soccer to tell the world about everything this destination has to offer while giving the Rowdies and international players a unique opportunity to learn from one another.”
Working with the Rowdies is a sort of homecoming for Marcos. His relationship with the club began in 1974, as Director of Public Relations and Director of Soccer Development.
During eight years with the team, he recruited both Quraishi, the Rowdies’ first-ever draft pick, and Perry Van Der Beck, the first high school player selected for the team. Van Der Beck now serves as Assistant General Manager and Vice President for Community Relations.
In 1986, Marcos founded the Southwest Indoor Soccer League, which later became the United Soccer Leagues. He served as its president for 26 years, as the league grew to the largest collection of professional and amateur soccer leagues in the United States. The organization now represents 100 clubs across North America. He also served on the Board of Directors for U.S. Soccer for 14 years and the U.S. Soccer Foundation for nine years.
Marcos’ new role will be to focus on cultural and economic development, as well as tourism opportunities for both the Rowdies and Tampa Bay.
“We are building more than a soccer team here,” Edwards said. “We’re building a part of the fabric of St. Pete and Tampa Bay. Adding Francisco Marcos to the team will strengthen our ties to the international soccer world and ultimately make us a more valuable member of the local community.”