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Celebrity Match: Green Defeats White 1-0

A late goal by Rick McEwen sealed victory for the Green Team during the Anheuser-Busch/Pepin halftime celebrity game.  An impressive run by Peter Ward led to a shot that was saved by White Team goalkeeper and former Rowdie Winston DuBose.

McEwen, the son of WFLA News Channel 8 Operations Manager Rick McEwen, was waiting on the left post and tapped in the rebound that proved to be the game winner.  

The White Team had numerous scoring chances through the offensive prowess of former Rowdie Neill Roberts, Bright House Sports Network's Victoria Lim and team owner Andrew Nestor. Green goalkeeper and Rowdies play-by-play announcer Mike Pepper was there to preserve the clean sheet on every occasion.

"It was brilliant," Ward said after the game. "It was fantastic being back out there. I probably should have scored, but the rebound went in so it's all fine."


Thoughts from participants:

Andrew Nestor - FC Tampa Bay President/Owner

"It was a lot of fun to get back out there, especially with all of the former Rowdies.  It's fun to play with those guys. These guys can still move, it's quite impressive."

Victoria Lim - Bright House Sports Network

"Personally, since I'm a soccer enthusiast and soccer fan, I'm thrilled to have soccer back in Tampa Bay.  It was always perplexing to me that we have such high participation rates in the Tampa area, but we didn't have a team to follow once the Mutiny left.  It's a thrill to have the Rowdies back.

This is going to sound cheesy, but I really am honored to participate in this game.  This is the inaugural season for the new Rowdies, and to be able to participate in this way, and support the team in this way, and support the sport in this way, is really exciting to me."

Charley Belcher - FOX 13

"I'm so excited about the Rowdies.  The one thing I love is tradition and Florida has so little tradition.  The Bucs went away from their tradition by changing their colors.   The Rays are building a tradition.  But one of the greatest traditions from when I was growing up, the first winning team we had, was the Rowdies.  I used to go to the old Tampa Stadium, and it was so much fun, it was a winning team.  The Mutiny were an aberration.   But when the Rowdies were coming back, and bringing the colors back, I was so excited to see the Tampa tradition.

It was probably a big mistake choosing to participate in this game.  I'm not the most athletic guy in the world.  The Rays have never invited me to participate, the Bucs have never asked me, the Lightning won't let me on the ice.  So the first team that asked, I said yes."

BJ Upton - Tampa Bay Rays (Striped Scarf Recipient)

"We have great sports here with hockey, football, and baseball and this is another great sport to add.  I'm just real glad that soccer is back to get more people into it.  The Bay Area is a great place for sports, and I'm glad we have another team to support.

I'm definitely a soccer fan.  I started watching during the 2006 World Cup and I've been hooked on it ever since.  I follow it whenever I can and I love watching it.  I watch all the leagues as much as I can.  It doesn't matter who it is or what league it is, I'll watch it."

Peter Ward - Former Tampa Bay Rowdie

"The return of the team is fantastic. Playing in the halftime game was brilliant.  Fantastic.  I loved it.  I should have scored, but Winny made the save.  The rebound went in, so that was fine."

Martin Gramatica - Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer

"I think it's awesome that the Rowdies are back with all of their history.  The old Rowdie fans are coming back and it's just a joy to watch.  I bring my kids and they love it. It was a lot of fun tonight to hang out with all the guys that you don't get to see everyday."

Derek Wininsky - Fan Winner 

"I'm pumped.  It was great to play on the same field as the Rowdies.  Obviously, this being the inaugural season, this is going to be a year that everyone remembers.  And me actually getting a chance to play on the same field as these guys who are going to be legends in years down the road, it's awesome."

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