From IMG Academy to Eckerd College in St. Pete to playing for the Lakeland Tropics, Rowdies forward Juan Tejada served as a trialist this preseason.
His knack for scoring goals didn’t go unnoticed. The 22 year old Panama-native was signed to his first professional contract on February 20th.
He told News Channel 8, “Coming here to America was tough at the beginning, and then to get the reward of signing my first professional contract, especially here where I’ve been five years was amazing.”
Before the season started, the Rowdies tell News Channel 8 they had planned on a 23-man roster. but Head Coach Neill Collins made an exeption for Tejada, making him the 24th member of the team.
Collins added, “…just his attitude to the game is just fantastic and signified what I wanted this team to epitomize.”
Tejada has dreamt of playing professionally since he was 4 years old. He is forever grateful for the opportunity Collins has given him, and the forward has proved himself! He’s tied for 2nd on the team with 2 goals on the season. A testament he says to never giving up.
“It’s tough. You never know if you are going to get what you want, so just work hard. I’ve become a lot more mentally tough.”
Tejada and the Rowdies will looking to extend a club-record 11-game undefeated streak on Saturday at Al Lang Stadium in St. Pete.