Brian Shriver Returns Home To The Sunshine State

Brian Shriver Led 2013 NASL In Scoring Playing With Carolina RailHawks

At the conclusion of the 2013 North American Soccer League season Brian Shriver said he was excited to enter free agency.

He was coming off a season in which he scored 15 goals for the Carolina RailHawks and led the league in scoring. His contract with the RailHawks was up at the end of the season.

But just before Christmas, free agency ended for the former UNC Tar Heel striker. He is now a member of the Tampa Bay Rowdies, after signing a new four-year contract.

For Shriver, moving to the Rowdies is moving back home. He g[show_disconnected][show_to accesslevel=’Subscriber’]rew up in nearby Clearwater, and was a high school All-America at Clearwater High School.

After UNC he was drafted by FC Dallas of Major League Soccer in 2009, but declined a contract in order to complete his studies in Chapel Hill. He signed with Miami FC of the NASL, which later became the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

He has scored 11 or more goals in each of his last professional seasons, the last two with the RailHawks.

“We’re thrilled to bring Brian home to the Rowdies,” said club owner Bill Edwards. “I’m committed to fielding the best team possible. Brian’s ability to score will keep the game exciting for fans and help us achieve our goal of winning the 2014 NASL Soccer Bowl Championship.”

The Rowdies have also re-signed NASL MVP Georgi Hristov to a four-year contract. His 12 goals kept him in the chase for the league’s Golden Boot until the last match of the season.

Having both Shriver and Hristov in the lineup together will give Tampa Bay one of the most potent offensive combinations in the league.

On the defensive end of the field, the Rowdies have signed Blake Wagner, who is originally from Atlanta, Ga. Wagner, who has played in MLS with FC Dallas, Real Salt Lake and Vancouver FC, was with the NASL San Antonio Scorpions last season.

Wagner was a member of the U.S.Soccer Residency program in Bradenton, and was a starter on the U.S. National Team tht competed at the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru.

Tampa Bay also announced that star goalkeeper Diego Restrepo has signed a two-year contract, with the second year being a club option.

The Venezuelan-born goalkeeper, who played collegiate soccer at the University of South Florida (two years) and the University of Virginia, started 26 matches, including U.S. Open Cup matches, in 2013.

Restrepo was a teammate of Wagner’s at the 2005 FIFA U17 World Cup. He led Virginia to the NCAA Division I national championship in 2009, where he was named both the 2009 NCAA College Cup’s Defensive MVP and ACC Turnament MVP.

The Rowdies finished fourth in the 2013 NASL Spring season and third in the league’s Fall season.

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