VSI Tampa Bay FC
VSI Tampa Bay FC was an American soccer team based in Plant City, Florida. They played in USL Pro, the third tier of the American soccer pyramid, in the 2013 season. VSI Tampa Bay FC were owned by VisionPro Sports Institute and were affiliated with a women's team in the W-League, an amateur team in the USL Premier Development League (PDL), and a youth team in the Super-20 League. All the teams folded in 2013.
|Full name||VisionPro Sports Institute Tampa Bay Football Club|
|Ground||Plant City Stadium|
Plant City, Florida
|General Manager||Alex Miranda|
|Head Coach||Joel Harrison|
In 2011, English soccer development academy VisionPro Sports Institute announced a venture to establish a soccer organization in the United Soccer Leagues in the United States. VSI partnered with the local Brandon, Florida area youth soccer organization, West Florida Flames, to build VSI Tampa Flames, "the perfect platform for vertical progression, giving talented youngsters the opportunity to progress from junior soccer all the way through to the professional game," according to VSI's CEO, Simon Crane. The USL Pro team was to serve as the pinnacle of the youth pyramid for men; the club also included a women's team in the W-League, an amateur team in the USL Premier Development League (PDL), and a youth team in the Super-20 League. The W-League, PDL, and Super-20 League teams started play in 2012, while the USL Pro team was to join in 2013. On November 22, 2012, the team changed its name to "VSI Tampa Bay FC" and named Matt Weston as the head coach.
Their first game was played on March 30, 2013, losing to Phoenix FC 1-0. They defeated the Los Angeles Blues 1-0 for their first win on April 2, 2013. Antonio Neto scored the first goal in team history.
VSI Tampa Bay chose Plant City Stadium as their home venue on April 4, 2013, moving all the teams there. Matt Weston resigned as Head Coach on May 8, 2013, and Joel Harrison was named as Interim Head Coach.
While the W-League and PDL teams had been successful in 2012, the USL Pro team struggled throughout its only season. The remote stadium in Plant City made it difficult to attract fans, and the team suffered from competition from the more successful Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League. The organization folded all of its teams after the 2013 season.
Joel Harrison - Head Coach Sheldon Cipriani - Head Coach, PDL Team / First Team Assistant Coach Sam Mitchell - Head Coach, Super-20 League Team / First Team Assistant Coach Jorge Zavala - Goalkeeping Coach / First Team Assistant Coach Mac McCarthy - Performance Coach John Mitchell - Head of Operations Clay Roberts - Director of Soccer
|Year||Division||League||Regular Season (W-T-L)||Playoffs||Open Cup||Avg. Attendance||Top Scorer||Goals|
|2013||3||USL||10th (9-5-12)||Did not qualify||2nd Round||452||Mauricio Salles||10|
- "VisionPro Academy Headed to Tampa". United Soccer Leagues (USL). November 16, 2011. Archived from the original on May 27, 2012. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
- "Weston joins VSI Tampa Bay FC". VSI Tampa Bay FC. November 22, 2012. Archived from the original on February 5, 2013. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
- "VSI Tampa Names Weston As Coach". United Soccer Leagues (USL). November 21, 2012. Archived from the original on December 27, 2013. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
- "VSI Falls in First Road Match". VSI Tampa Bay FC. March 31, 2013. Archived from the original on June 30, 2013. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
- "VSI Captures First Franchise Win Over LA Blues". VSI Tampa Bay FC. April 3, 2013. Archived from the original on June 30, 2013. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
- "Sports Digest". tampabay.com. April 3, 2013. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
- "VSI Tampa Bay FC announces 2013 USL Stadium Venue". VSI Tampa Bay FC. April 4, 2013. Archived from the original on June 15, 2013. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
- "VSI Tampa Bay Announces the Departure of Coach Weston". VSI Tampa Bay FC. May 8, 2013. Retrieved May 9, 2013.
- Domingo, Odeen (November 17, 2013). "USL PRO to see teams fold; MLS to field squads; new team partnership". odfcnews.com. Retrieved June 25, 2014.