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Cal Jennings’ arrival completes Tampa Bay’s front line revamp

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 01/26/23, 12:00PM EST


Former Las Vegas Lights FC striker brings big individual resume alongside Fernandes, Williams

Cal Jennings has been one of the sharpest finishers in the past three USL Championship seasons, talents he'll now bring to the Tampa Bay Rowdies for the new season. | Photo courtesy Las Vegas Lights FC

When the offseason began, it was known that at least one-third of the attacking trio that had led the Tampa Bay Rowdies to the most goals in the 2022 USL Championship regular season was on his way out, with Jake LaCava’s loan spell coming to an end.

Then in December there came the departure of all-time leading goalscorer Sebastian Guenzatti to Indy Eleven, one of the biggest moves of the Championship offseason so far.

On Thursday, however, the Rowdies completed the overhaul of a potential front three for the new season with the arrival of Cal Jennings, one of the league’s standouts over the past three seasons who’ll now get to feature for a club expected to compete for a title.

Jennings’ signing, alongside that of JJ Williams earlier this month, gives Tampa Bay two new faces to play alongside returning 2022 Championship MVP Leo Fernandes, and should rival Guenzatti’s move in prominence. While Jennings hasn’t been able to lift individual teams to success in his first three seasons in the professional ranks – although he came close when teamed with Danny Trejo last season at Las Vegas Lights FC – what he brings to the table should be an ideal fit with his new teammates.

First of all, Jennings has been a tremendous finisher. With 31 goals in 59 regular season appearances, he’s averaged a goal every 143.3 minutes in his career so far. That strike rate is the best of any player with at least 30 goals and 10 assists since the start of the 2020 season – even surpassing that of 2021 MVP Hadji Barry.

He’s not just a finisher, though. Over the past three season, he ranks eighth overall in Goals+Assists with 41. That puts him behind some of the other big names to have moved this offseason – including Guenzatti (44) and new Sacramento Republic FC arrival Russell Cicerone (48). The biggest reason for that difference? The number of minutes Jennings has played in comparison to his contemporaries.

REGULAR SEASON Goals+Assists per 90 minutes (2020-22)

Among players with min. 40 G+A


2023 Club



 G+A per 90 

Cal Jennings

 Tampa Bay Rowdies




Hadji Barry

 Future FC (Egypt)




Luis Solignac

 El Paso Locomotive FC




Sebastian Guenzatti

 Indy Eleven




Leo Fernandes

 Tampa Bay Rowdies




Augustine Williams

 Charleston Battery




Neco Brett

 Birmingham Legion FC




Russell Cicerone

 Sacramento Republic FC




With Fernandes looking to build on a spectacular 2022 campaign with a role as the left prong of the Rowdies attacking trio, and Williams and his 6-foot-4 frame providing a central focal point for the attack, Jennings could hit even greater heights this season as Tampa Bay takes aim at a return to the Championship Final.

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