Professional soccer officially returned to Tampa Bay on May 8, when a crowd of more than 8,000 fans watched the Rowdies play their debut home game at Steinbrenner Field. Currently headed up by Scottish coach and retired professional footballer Paul Dalglish, the Rowdies are chest-trapping, banana-kicking, and head-butting their way back into the world of black-and-white-spotted balls. Watch them take on the Minnesota Stars, who are ably coached by Manny Logas and hungry to work their way up the 2010 standings. Sideline seats get frenetic fans close enough to observe the fantastic flairs of Division II soccer savants as they attempt to sneak the European pigskin between an opponent’s legs and through the goal zone. Since it's a Thursday game, fans can also take advantage of Thirsty Thursdays, featuring $1 beers from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The USF Bulls play their home games in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' sleek Raymond James Stadium, home of the famous pirate ship harbored in Buccaneer Cove. Single-game tickets against Western Kentucky and Florida Atlantic provide a taste of the festive atmosphere present in collegiate ball. The season pass, which is good for all seven regular home games against teams such as Connecticut, Syracuse, and the Tuscaloosa Technical Institute of Poetry, lets fans fill the football-shaped void in their hearts over the course of the season.
XFC is a prominent mixed-martial-arts organization dedicated to finding the next generation of MMA superheroes through open tryouts so that these undiscovered fighters may one day climb into the bloodied center of a professional cage match. XFC XI: The Next Generation features four XFC Open Fighter Tryout winners as well as Micah Miller, Kim Couture, and many more. Watch as these skilled fighters vie for domination using techniques drawn from Brazilian jiujitsu, Muay Thai, boxing, wrestling, kickboxing, tae kwon do, and more.
If there’s one team to emulate in professional sports, it’s the New York Yankees and their 27 championships. Since becoming the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the big league Yankees in 1994, the Tampa Yankees have grown into a minor league clone of their MLB brethren—they’ve won five Florida State League titles, including back-to-back years in 2009-10.
Further strengthening the Yankee bond, the T-Yanks play all their home games at George M. Steinbrenner Field, the Spring Training facility of the Bronx Bombers. A scaled-down replica of Yankee Stadium, Steinbrenner Field is an 11,000-seat facility brimming with Yankee lore. The 31-acre complex even has a Monument Park, which honors the organization’s greatest players and beer vendors.
Named one of USA Today's Top Ten Skating Rinks in 2008, USA Skateplex sends eight-wheelers careening around a skating arena, competing in a full arcade, and snacking at concession stands. During public skate sessions, freewheelers strap on their own blades or a rental pair of old-school four-bangers and do the counter-clockwise coast to DJ hits. Pairs of floating friends can take a breather for intermittent soda and arcade breaks; groups of four get twice as many game tokens and a large cheese pizza to salten the deal.
The Transitions Championship, an official PGA TOUR event, pits formidable golf kings—such as two-time winner Retief Goosen and 2010 winner Jim Furyk—against the lush greens and brutal traps of the Innisbrook's 72-hole Copperhead course. The verdant meadows of the Copperhead course sprawl to 7,340 yards and feature unusually dramatic elevation changes and reassuringly infrequent bear attacks. The tournament mixes the traditional drama of men dueling with clubs with a week of events such as the March 13 Think About Your Eyes Family Walk, which raises money for blindness prevention and lobbies to jazz up televised golf coverage with tie-dyed greens.