USL PRO Profile: VSI Tampa Bay FC
VSI Tampa Flames were the former name of this club last year, in the USL’s Premier Development League. VisionPro Sports Institute is a soccer development academy based out of England. The club develops youth players to become professional soccer players from the USA. The Tampa Flames club was founded in 2011 and also has teams in the Super-20 League and Women’s League. In the fall of 2012 the club changed its name to “VSI Tampa Bay FC” and announced they will have a team competing in the USL PRO League.
Name- Corbett Soccer Stadium at The University of South Florida
Surface- Bermuda Grass
The main tenant of the grounds is the USF Bulls soccer teams but will be shared with VSI Tampa Bay’s USL Pro side this year. There is a 1,000 seat grandstand and a grassy bowl surrounding the rest of the venue to make the total capacity around 2,000.
Head of Operations- John Mitchell
Director of Soccer- Clay Roberts
General Manager- Alex Miranda
Matt Weston’s roots in the sport of soccer started with playing for Manchester United’s youth academy. He played professionally and semi-professionally in England for Ispwich Town, as well as for Stockport County, Leigh RMI, and F.C. United of Manchester. His first professional coaching job was for defunct USL Pro club FC New York in 2010 which no longer exist after one season. In the fall of 2012, Matt was named head coach of VSI Tampa Bay FC.
Player to Note:
Alex Horwath has had a very adventurous young career, playing for four clubs professionally before turning age 25. VSI Tampa Bay FC will need the guidance of talented goalkeeper Alex Horwath if they want to be successful in their inaugural season in the USL Pro. The Maryland native has played for the Northern Virginia Royals, Kansas City Brass, New York Red Bulls, and last year he made 24 appearances for the Wilmington Hammerheads leading them to a deep playoff run.
Future of the Club:
VSI Tampa Bay FC hopes to one day be competing in Major League Soccer. There are already artist renderings of a proposed stadium plans for a 22,000 seat venue. VSI does not lack resources and this stadium could be erected completely on private funding. First, the club must be successful to in a lower leavel before moving up, like Montreal, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver did before joining MLS.