With the Rowdies 2010 Inaugural Season in the books and Julian Valentin no longer with the club, the captain’s armband had no owner at the start of the 2011 preseason. Days into the preseason, newly hired Head Coach Ricky Hill saw a newcomer who seemed to have the strength and commitment to become the 2011 Rowdies Captain. That player was defender Frankie Sanfilippo, who had joined the Rowdies after spending the 2010 season with the Rochester Rhinos.
“I came in every day to practice and showed Ricky that I was capable of wearing that armband,” commented Sanfilippo. “I gave 110% every practice and all the effort paid off as by the start of the 2011 NASL Season, I was officially the Rowdies Captain. Since my arrival there has been a great locker room atmosphere, which helps us create that Rowdies family tradition.”
It was not just the voice of leadership on the field that led Ricky Hill to choose Sanfilippo as captain, but it was his professionalism off the field as well that struck his attention.
“On the field his style of play makes him a leader,” stated Rowdies CEO and General Manager Andrew Nestor. “He is able to organize the team during the game at times where it is necessary, but off the field even more so as a captain he goes about his day as a true leader. He actively communicates with his teammates, giving good direction and bringing the various personalities together.”
Every player knows that when stepping on to the field Sanfilippo is the voice of the Rowdies team. His technical vision and intense work rate have earned him respect from both his teammates and opposing teams as well.
“I enjoy putting all my energy into the team and I want every player to feel part of this family,” explained Sanfilippo. “We all work to help out one another and if someone yells at you on the pitch, everyone understands that it is to make each other better soccer players.”
The defender has seen many players come and go, but the longest-tenured Rowdies player Takuya Yamada has been with the club prior to his arrival. Sanfilippo feels Yamada is a great individual to have on the team, helping the Captain convey his message to the squad.
“Yama is a legend,” grinned Sanfilippo. “You see many of the young players look up to him because of his experience in the J-League. He is a great professional and we are lucky to have him in this organization.”
The 2012 season saw the addition of player-assistant coach Stuart Campbell, someone who helps Sanfilippo and Hill convey the family atmosphere in the locker room. The English native has praised the captain’s work ethic and leadership since he joined the Rowdies last season.
“He is a great leader on and off the pitch,” commented Campbell. “Frankie is a perfect example for the younger professionals to look up to. The way he trains day in and day out, as well as the intensity he portrays during the match makes him admirable.”
Sanfilippo looks to lead the Rowdies to their second-straight victory this weekend, as Tampa Bay faces the Atlanta Silverbacks this Saturday, April 20 at Al Lang Stadium. For information on 2013 season tickets or individual tickets contact the front office at 813-287-1539 or email@example.com.
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