The Tampa Bay Rowdies got a little stronger down the middle Friday with the addition of midfielder Eric Avila.
Avila, 28, played for Orlando City a year ago after being on loan from Santos Laguna. In nine years, he has almost 1,000 minutes of play in the MLS.
“Raoul (Voss), Stuart (Dobson) and I have all scouted Eric, and we all liked him immediately,” Tampa Bay Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “He’s a really clever player that seems to be comfortable wherever you put him on the field, which is a great player to have on any team. He brings plenty of skill and technical ability.”
His professional career began when FC Dallas selected him as a Generation Adidas member in the second round of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft. After four seasons in Dallas, including helping the club reach the MLS Cup final in 2010, Avila was traded to Toronto FC in a deal that sent former Rowdies forward Maicon Santos in the other direction.
After two seasons in Toronto, Avila was acquired by Chivas USA, where he played until the franchise disbanded in 2014. Avila then signed with Santos Laguna last year and joined Orlando City on a season-long loan.
Born in San Diego, Avila represented the United States at the Under-17 and Under-20 levels.
Tampa Bay continues to play in the Suncoast Invitational Saturday, playing against Montreal.