The Tampa Bay Rowdies have acquired forward Jake LaCava on loan from Inter Miami CF, with the 22-year-old forward having recorded 12 goals and five assists for the side last season. | Photo courtesy Matt May / Tampa Bay Rowdies
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Rowdies announced on Friday the club had acquired forward Jake LaCava on loan from Inter Miami CF of Major League Soccer for the remainder of the 2023 USL Championship season, returning a familiar face to Head Coach Neill Collins’ squad after his success at the club a season ago. LaCava will be available for selection when Tampa Bay plays host to New Mexico United on Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium.
The 22-year-old recorded `12 goals and five assists for the Rowdies a season ago while on loan from the New York Red Bulls, helping Tampa Bay finish as the highest-scoring club in the USL Championship regular season. LaCava was rewarded for his efforts by being named a finalist for the USL Championship’s Young Player of the Year award.
“I’m really happy with a lot of aspects of where we are at but our job is to always think ahead,” said Rowdies Head Coach Neill Collins. “Jake was someone that had a big impact last year with goals and with his attitude. Huge thanks to Inter Miami for allowing him to come to us. It’s a testament to Jake that he wants to play and be on the field to contribute, but equally that he wants to do it here.
“He was highly sought after around the league, understandably, but we think we can give him the best environment. I’ve got to keep making this team better. I think he does make us better and gives us competition. I’m excited to add him to what we’ve already got up at the top of the field. He’s going to be a huge asset.”
Last November, LaCava was selected by St. Louis CITY SC in the MLS Expansion Draft before being traded to Inter Miami. Since making the move to South Florida, the young attacker has made six appearances and scored one goal for Miami’s MLS NEXT Pro side. He joins a Rowdies attacking corps that has hit a groove over the last month, bagging 14 goals during the club’s six-match unbeaten run.
“It feels like I’m at home,” LaCava said of his return. “I’m looking forward to getting back out there with the guys. I know this is an environment I could not only get minutes in but also succeed in. The culture here is to win and that’s something that I’m interested in. That’s a big part of me and the type of player that I am. I’m looking forward to working again with Neill and the whole staff. There’s more to my game I can improve and being here is just going to help that.”