A bizarre season for the Tampa Bay Rowdies has had another wrench thrown into it.
German midfielder Marcel Schäfer will leave Tampa Bay this month to return to Germany, where he will serve as Sporting Director in the front office for his former Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg.
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THANK YOU @tampabayrowdies Back to @vfl.wolfsburg 🐺💚 I am very excited and honored to take the sporting director job at VFL Wolfsburg. I am also very grateful to the Rowdies organization and the owner Bill Edwards. 🙏🏻 It was an honor to be a part of this fantastic club, the team, the fans and the Tampa Bay Area. It was a big experience for me and my family and we enjoyed every day. The Rowdies will always have a place in my heart and I am proud to be the first German Rowdies ambassador. 💚💛 I am happy to play one more game at Al Lang stadium. Like always it will be with a lot of passion and love for this beautiful soccer game.
When Schäfer first joined the Rowdies before the 2017, a move like this was anticipated. The plan was for Schäfer to play out his final two years in America before returning to work for Wolfburg in an off-the-pitch role.
But Wolfsburg’s struggles in the Bundesliga (finishing 16th place in each of the last two seasons) and a prominent position opening will cut Schäfer’s career in the green and gold hoops about half a season short.
Losing Schäfer is a big blow for the Rowdies roster, as he was named to the USL All-League First Team in 2017 and was a candidate for league MVP. In 2018, he leads the Rowdies in scoring chances created.
Schäfer will play in one final game for the Rowdies, the June 22 match-up vs. Penn FC at Al Lang Stadium, before starting his new job with Wolfsburg on July 1.
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