ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Rowdies announced on Wednesday they had signed forward Brandon Allen and midfielder Zach Steinberger as the club’s first new signings for the 2019 USL Championship campaign. The signings are pending league and federation approval.
The 2016 USL Championship Rookie of the Year, Allen finished the 2018 season as Nashville SC’s leading scorer, helping the club reach the USL Cup Playoffs in its inaugural season with eight goals and two assists in 22 appearances. He started the year with Bethlehem Steel FC and moved to Nashville after scoring twice in seven games for the Pennsylvania club.
Allen has scored 40 goals across the USL Championship regular season and USL Cup Playoffs since joining the professional ranks at the start of the 2016 season, second only to Birmingham Legion FC’s Chandler Hoffman over that span. His minutes per goal rate of a tally every 128.73 minutes since the start of the 2016 season is third to only 2018 USL Championship Golden Boot-winner Cameron Lancaster and Nashville SC’s Daniel Rios.
A Hermann Trophy finalist at Georgetown, Allen led the New York Red Bulls II to the USL Cup in 2016 with six goals in the postseason, including a hat trick against the Swope Park Rangers as the side claimed the championship. Allen was also named to the 2016 USL Championship All-League First Team in addition to his Rookie of the Year award.
“Brandon’s goalscoring record speaks for itself,” Rowdies Head Coach Neill Collins said. “He’s someone that I played against and coached against and I know how big of a threat he is to score at any time. He’s been very successful in this league, and he’s an important part of what we want to do as an attacking team.”
Like Allen, Steinberger also switched teams in the middle of the 2018 USL season, with North Carolina FC acquiring him on loan from the Indy Eleven in August. Steinberger made 17 appearances for Indy, scoring once, before joining North Carolina and scoring four goals and adding three assists in only nine starts.
A creative central midfielder, Steinberger turned pro with the Houston Dynamo in 2015. He had loan spells with Indy, Rio Grande Valley FC and Jacksonville Armada FC over the next two seasons before signing with the Armada in 2017.
“Zach has been in Florida before with Jacksonville and IMG Academy, so he’s fully aware of the conditions of a Florida summer and his fitness levels are off the charts,” Collins said. “He gets himself into great positions and scores a lot because of how hard he works. I think Zach’s personality and hunger embodies a lot of what our new squad will be about and I’m excited to work with him.”