Rowdies sign Lakeland native and UNF product

The Tampa Bay Rowdies have signed Alex Morrel for the 2017 USL season.

Morrell, 22, is a Lakeland native that joins the Rowdies from Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire. He spent part of last season in the USL on loan to St. Louis FC. Morrell will wear the No. 9 jersey for the Rowdies.

“We’re excited to sign a young player of Alex’s quality,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “He spent last year in MLS learning from experienced coaches and players and now he’s ready to make the next step. We look forward to seeing him develop and make an impact here with the Rowdies.”

A central Florida native, Morrell played youth soccer for St. Petersburg’s Strictly Soccer before playing collegiately for the University of North Florida Ospreys from 2012 to 2015. In 63 games with the Ospreys, Morrell scored 10 goals.

The Fire selected Morrell 22nd overall in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. He made four appearances for Chicago in his first professional season, logging 56 minutes. Morrell was loaned to Saint Louis in August and played in two USL matches.

Morrell is the 12th member of the Rowdies’ 2017 roster, which opens preseason play January 8 against Germany’s VfL Wolfsburg in the Florida Cup. The match which will be held at Al Lang Stadium will likely feature a mix of U-21 and U-19 players from the German giants.

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