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FC Tampa Bay Announce New Coach Ricky Hill

2011 January 18
by Brian Quarstad

FC Tampa Bay announced today the hiring of former Tampa Bay Rowdies player Ricky Hill. The England native who began his playing career at 17 with Luton Town FC in 1976 spent the bulk of his years playing in England. He moved to the U.S. in 1991 to become player coach of the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the American Soccer League. After 2 years with Tampa he returned to England, coaching the U-17 and U-19 teams for Sheffield Wednesday and Tottenham Hotspur, the latter having an outstanding youth system.

Most recently Hill was appointed technical director of CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh in the Trinidad & Tobago Professional Football League. Jabloteh represented the Caribbean in the CONCACAF Tournament in 2003, where Hill was awarded Coach of the Year for Trinidad & Tobago.

Ricky Hill

“Ricky has the right mix of experience and knowledge of our league to lead this club,” said President and Owner Andrew Nestor. “He has played at the highest levels in Europe and America and also has been a successful coach in America and abroad. Ricky has been awarded coaching accolades in several leagues, having managed some of the world’s top players today. Ricky is a part of Tampa Bay soccer history and tradition, and we are proud to welcome him back.”

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to join FC Tampa Bay as head coach,” said Hill. “I look forward to helping with the development of the franchise and working with all the members of the club to continue building a team that plays exciting, winning soccer.”

FC Tampa Bay open their season at home on April 9 against the Montreal Impact.

21 Responses
  1. thesuperrookie permalink
    January 18, 2011

    This is great and all, but I wanted to know what is happening with the USL Eye-League.

    Please, solve this problem for me.

  2. marco permalink
    January 18, 2011

    the eye-league ..should be the i live where there is tons of snow or just a town with nothing else going on..please the USL just wants more money and to keep there people working…as for Tampa Bay’s coach is the NASL really having a league?

  3. January 18, 2011

    Had the fortune of playing with Ricky on the Rowdies in the early 90s. Didn’t know he was still around. He was a fantastic player and an even better person, and I wish him the best of luck!

  4. PAUL permalink
    January 19, 2011

    Ricky is a great guy and a great coach, i wish him all the best

  5. Strikers Return permalink
    January 19, 2011

    Congrats to the Rowdies on their new coach. Also just read an article that says they’ll be playing at Al Lang Field in 2011. Tampa seems to be getting its ducks all in a row, come on Strikers, your turn!

  6. January 19, 2011

    Strikers Return,

    Can you explain to me why playing at this facility is “getting their ducks in a row”?

  7. January 19, 2011

    Temporary solution, I guess. I guess it’s better than Steinbrenner in that the Yankees don’t own and operate it. And that there is no longer a Florida State League team in St. Petersburg with which to compete for dates – hopefully that would mean they could sod the infield and simply leave it and not have a big infield dirt patch over 20% or more of the field.

    However, it’s worse than Steinbrenner in that it’s on the wrong side of the Bay. And, if they’re going to lay the field out that way, there aren’t a lot of good seats. And it was built in 1947. Almost no one from Tampa will go, and St. Pete hasn’t exactly got the demographics they’re looking for.

    If they get a definitive stadium solution that they can announce soon, you can live with this for a year. But if it’s going to be an indefinite stay in Al Lang, that’s not going to be a good thing. At all.

  8. January 19, 2011

    Oh, I see they’re going to play at Al Lang for 2011 AND 2012.

    Well, they’re f***ed, then.

  9. mikey permalink
    January 19, 2011

    Ouch, that looks like a worse set up than they had last season. I know there were control issues at GSF but you would have thought that the way they set up AL Lang could be improved than that photo rendering

  10. Strikers Return permalink
    January 19, 2011

    @BQ – It’s a home at least! I didn’t make the trip up to TB last year, but I watched a few of Rowdies home matches on streaming video. ANY field that doesn’t have more then a quarter of it covered with infield dirt is an improvement in my book. Is it ideal for them? Certainly not. But my understanding is they will have more control at this facility, no infield dirt, and let’s face it, this is the first season for NASL, and Davidson himself said we would have to temper expectations. Baby steps BQ, baby steps!

  11. Grant Stephens permalink
    January 19, 2011


    Mostly it is viewed by us as ‘Ducks in a row’ because its A) an announcement! Something that FCTB fans have been starved for, and B) a home for the next 2 seasons in which we are the primary tenants. I know this isnt the ‘Field of Dreams’ everyone hopes for when they hear about a new stadium, but for those of us in the situation, its being viewed as a positive!

    First off, The infield dirt is going to be replaced with turf, and there are more attractions within walking distance (restaurants, bars, shops, etc.) than any of the other options. Chances are we wont get gouged on parking, concessions, and tickets.

    Im ready and I know the bulk of us are looking forward to a fresh start!

  12. Grant Stephens permalink
    January 19, 2011

    Oh yeah…and chances are that the schedule wont be so bad because we arent working around a Class A Minor league Baseball teams schedule…

  13. January 19, 2011

    I still say that even if it’s baby steps I’m not sure how that is getting your ducks in a row. I’m splitting hairs I supposed and the saying is meant that they are getting organized. I know it’s in a better location from what I hear as well and thats good too. But it is not at all an ideal situation for watching the beautiful game. Intimacy in a stadium is so important. Hopefully they will be able to start to move forward with an SSS for 2013.

  14. Grant Stephens permalink
    January 19, 2011

    Agreed 100%

    Its been the goal of the FCTB front office to build that SSS in the downtown Tampa area, and I cant wait. Until then, Im excited that the little annoyances of GSF wont be a problem anymore. From stadium decorations to personnel to overpriced goods, playing there always came with the reminder that we were ‘second class citizens’ to The Yankees (they would even play ‘New York, New York’ over the loudspeakers immediately following home games!…Really?!)

    The message boards have been suggesting that Al Lang could be dressed up to appear more ‘soccer like’, with stadium decorations that advertise The team/league. The field will be closer to the stands, which will make a world of difference with the viewing angles (a major peev before!) Also, The mayor of St. Pete himself was happy and eager to get FCTB in there! Thats a nice change…someone who wants us! Downtown St. Pete is a great place to spend the evening after a game and I hope that the average sports fan can see the attraction of fairly priced entertainment in a historic venue. A good portion of the stands are covered (for rainy nights) and the views of the bay are second to none.

    Now, If we could just get a schedule…

  15. Mick F permalink
    January 19, 2011

    Ricky Hill, Ricky Hill, Ricky Ricky Hill
    When he gets the ball he beats them all
    Ricky Ricky Hill

    This is what we used to sing at Kenilworth Road back in the 80’s. Good times.

  16. Bury Hatter permalink
    January 20, 2011

    Can’t say I understand all the terminology, I though we played the same game ?

    Good luck Ricky, you will always be a hero to Luton Fans

    Come on you Hatters (Luton Town)

  17. January 20, 2011


    Here is a Key:

    Starting from the top of the comments:

    USL Eye-League = United Soccer Leagues I-League an indoor league. (Eye League = sarcasm aimed toward league)
    NASL = North American Soccer League – the current one or as I call it 2.0, not the old one from the 70’s or version 1.0
    FC=Football Club – but you already know that one.
    f***ed = Well, I think you know this one as well..
    bq= Me the writer editor of IMS
    IMS=IMSoccer News, this website.
    TB = Tampa Bay
    FCTB = FC Tampa Bay (for FC see 3rd acronym in key)
    SSS= Soccer Specific Stadium what we call football stadiums here in the states that are specifily created for soccer and not a multipurpose stadium with American football lines on it.
    GSF= George Stienbrener Field (Baseball stadium the FCTB [see key] played for last year)

    Hope that helps.

  18. Bury Hatter permalink
    January 20, 2011

    Thanks a lot, perhaps you can explain infield dirt !!!

  19. January 20, 2011

    They played on a baseball field last year and the dirt areas are called the infield or are part of the infield to be technically correct. But the dirt is what they are referring to. Sort of like the photo of rendering from last year of how the field would be laid out at George Steinbreinner Stadium.

  20. bury hatter permalink
    January 20, 2011

    Thanks Brian ,

    I will never complain about the Kenilworth Road pitch again. Our “Stadium” is over a
    100 years old!!! Victorian !!
    Close to the pitch and full of atmosphere, a bit old and showing it’s age, but full of great memories.


    Bury Hatter

  21. January 20, 2011

    Ah, the intimacy of a football stadium should never be underestimated, no matter how old it is.

    I’ve experienced that right here in the Twin Cities with several fields used for soccer. The first was a soccer stadium with a track that was set up in such a way that you were so far away from the field you felt nothing. The team then moved to a high school football stadium that was super narrow and had football lines and fill turf. It was horrible for the football but for the first time fans felt some intimacy with their team.

    When the old stadium was refurbished and the team moved back there, they took out the running track and a smaller set of stands in front of the main seating as well as extra field area and a fence. This brought the field in only 15 yards from the stands. The difference was massive. Same stands, same field dimensions but now their was intimacy. A much improved fan experience.

    Thanks Bury Hatter. Cheers!

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