Brian Shriver, left, a forward for the Tampa Bay Rowdies takes part in a scrimmage Thursday at the team's outdoor site.

Rowdies forward Brian Shriver wants to strike gold this season

NASL soccer player hopes for a winning season in Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— Brian Shriver wants the upcoming season to be his best ever.

The 27-year-old attacker from the NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies sees success on the way despite the struggles of his career in seasons passed.

“Obviously I want to contribute goals as best I can,” said Shriver, as he ended practice at the Rowdies’ new outdoor practice field on Thursday. “If I’m starting, I want to be training everyday. If I’m not starting, I want to win my spot every day and better myself as well as those around me.”

Shriver is training for his second season with the club after being moved from the Carolina RailHawks in December 2013. His first season with Tampa saw two goals in 22 appearances, a disappointing drop from 15 goals in 25 appearances in his last season with Carolina.

His impressive performance with the RailHawks was preceded by his first three professional seasons with Miami FC (now named Fort Lauderdale Strikers) from 2009 to 2012.

“For my last year in Fort Lauderdale, I had a rough start to the season finding playing time and moving around in different positions,” said Shriver. “By halfway through that year (2011), I started playing forward, did well (with) scoring, and I ended up with 13 (or) 14 goals. And then the next year was my first year in Carolina, and in 2013, I led the league in goals that year. That was my best season so far.”

The NASL striker had a chance to play for the MLS, being picked in the 2009 SuperDraft by FC Dallas in the second round and 27th overall. However, Shriver made the decision to finish his degree at the University of North Carolina after a hip injury prevented him from playing with the club.

Shriver admitted that he would’ve signed with Dallas had he not of gotten injured, but the striker is content with currently playing for the NASL team, which is close to his hometown of Clearwater, Fla.

“I’m very happy here with how the league’s growing and how this organization is growing,” said Shriver. “(The NASL) is getting better and better; better players, facilities and standards. It’s something to enjoy while you’re in the moment.”

Still, as happy as Shriver is playing the sport, he wants a championship under his belt this year.

“Being a team sport, I want to win in any way we can,” he said. “It’s not going to be pretty all the time, but sometimes you grind it out to get as many points as you can. I want to be part of a championship team. That would be something I’d remember forever, to be a part of that before the day comes that I finally retire.”