On Friday, the Tampa Bay Rowdies announced a major shakeup to their front office, parting ways with both General Manager Farrukh Quraishi and Head Coach Thomas Rongen. This comes as a major surprise, even considering the disappointing start to the 2015 fall season, in which the Rowdies have won just twice.
Owner Bill Edwards had the following to say about the move:
I wish both Farrukh and Thomas well, but it was clear the team was not performing at the level they should be and could be. My goal from day one has been to win the NASL Soccer Bowl Championship. That has not changed.
As many in the community know, I am a fixer. I take broken things and do my best to turn them around. That was the case with Baywalk/Sundial, Mahaffey Theater and the Club at Treasure Island, among others. This is no different. When I identify a problem, I move swiftly and decisively to correct it. And I stand by my decisions. With the Rowdies, I felt it was important to make these changes now, while we still have time to improve our record for the fall season and secure a spot in the playoffs.
It is important to note that I do believe we have great players, certainly capable of winning the championship. I will work with them and the remaining coaching staff to ensure they have what they need to succeed. Decisions like these are never easy, but I hope this move shows both the players and the fans that my commitment to creating a world-class professional soccer experience remains undaunted.
Without knowing much of what was going on internally, this strikes me as both foolish and extremely short sighted. Rongen is one of the best coaches in the United States, and he had the team clicking pretty well during the spring season. Likewise, Farrukh seemed to have assembled a competitive group, despite the poor seven-match stretch that the club is currently mired in.
Also of note, Rongen was a key factor in Freddy Adu's decision to join the club, so it will be interesting to see what happens with that situation. I suppose we'll see if this was the correct decision going forward, but at the moment, I'm scratching my head.