The original Tampa Bay Rowdies were an expansion franchise in the original North American Soccer League, which played for 10 seasons in Tampa Stadium starting in 1975. They were an immediate success, winning a Soccer Bowl championship in their inaugural season, making it to league final in both 1978 and 1979, and regularly making the NASL playoffs. The team showcased international stars such as midfield captain Rodney Marsh (England), league leading goal scorer Oscar Fabbiani (Argentina), forward Steve Wegerle (South Africa), defender Arsene Auguste (Haiti), and popular player and high goal-scoring Derek Smethurst (South Africa). Head coaches included well-known managers Eddie Firmani, John Boyle, and Gordon Jago. The club's substantial fan base were dubbed "Fannies". They enjoyed broad popular support in the Tampa Bay area until the NASL folded in 1984, after which the team played in various minor indoor and outdoor leagues before finally folding in 1993.
On June 18, 2008, it was announced that a new soccer club would revive the Rowdies name as the "FC Tampa Bay Rowdies" and play as an expansion team of the USL First Division, the second tier of the American Soccer Pyramid. However, in November 2009 FC Tampa Bay announced their intent to instead become the co-founders of a new North American Soccer League, which would begin play in 2010. These plans were subsequently superseded by the USSF Division 2 deal, which created a compromise one-season only league comprising teams from both the USL and the new NASL.
Before actually beginning play, the club announced in January 2010 that they would drop the Rowdies moniker and become simply "FC Tampa Bay" due to an ongoing legal dispute over the merchandising rights of the Tampa Bay Rowdies name. However, the name was still used informally. On October 15, 2010, the team announced that they will no longer use the "Rowdies" nickname at all, but that they are still working to regain use of the name. On December 15, 2011, the team announced that it had regained use of the Rowdies nickname and the team would be immediately renamed to the Tampa Bay Rowdies for the 2012 NASL season. (Source: Wikipedia)