The Tampa Bay Rowdies announced on Friday it had declined its 2024 option on veteran forward Lucky Mkosana, who recorded 54 goals in the Championship's regular season and playoffs during a standout career. | Photo courtesy Matt May / Tampa Bay Rowdies
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Rowdies announced on Friday the club has declined contract options for forward Lucky Mkosana and midfielder Sebastian Dalgaard.
Both Mkosana and Dalgaard are members of the Rowdies 100 appearances club, with each playing important roles in helping the Rowdies win two USL Championship Eastern Conference titles and finish with the league’s best regular-season record in 2021 with a club record 71 points.
Mkosana first competed for the Rowdies on loan from the Harrisburg City Islanders in 2013 before signing with the club for the 2014 season. The Zimbabawe international returned midway through 2019 and ends his time in Tampa Bay as a player having made 119 appearances and tallied 27 goals across all competitions. Mkosana’s late brace to spark a comeback victory in the 2021 Eastern Conference Final against Louisville City FC at Al Lang Stadium will forever be remembered as one of the most thrilling moments in club history.
Dalgaard came to the Rowdies at the start of 2020 and established himself as a regular contributor as the club claimed back-to-back conference titles in 2020 and 2021. During his time in Tampa Bay, Dalgaard notched six goals and 12 assists in 110 appearances across all competitions for the Rowdies.
This is likely the final curtain for Lucky Mkosana as a player, with the 36-year-old having become a club legend for the Rowdies and cult hero for fans elsewhere through his stellar play and ability to spark sides off the bench. Mkosana’s 54 goals in 166 appearances across the Championship’s regular season and playoffs – six of which came in the postseason – were part of the story. The bigger part was that 23 of those came as a substitute, making him the Championship’s all-time leader in that category.
The next step for Mkosana will likely be on the sidelines, where he has already begun his pathway while helping develop top young talent in the Tampa Bay area. Hopefully, we’ll see him in the Championship as an assistant sooner rather than later, and potentially as a Head Coach down the line.
For Dalgaard, there should still be a market for a player who had five assists this season and continues to show a strong ability as a two-way player in the right system. At 32 years old, the Dane has made 208 appearances across the Championship regular season, recording 20 goals and 21 assists, and would be a good addition for a side looking for veteran leadership and positive on-field qualities.