Sources close to Tampa Bay Rowdies goalkeeper Jeff Attinella tell The Crow’s Nest he will sign a contract with Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer. An announcement is expected Monday or Tuesday.
Attinella was the hero of the Rowdies’ 2012 North American Soccer League Soccer Bowl Championship. He made three saves in the penalty shootout that clinched the second ever championship for a Rowdies team.
Originally from Safety Harbor, Attinella played his high school soccer for Countryside High School in Clearwater. He moved on to play for the University of South Florida where he was named the 2009 Big East goalkeeper of the year.
Attinella made his pro-debut in 2011 for the Rowdies against the Atlanta Silverbacks and went on to start the majority of games that season. He allowed 31 goals for the Rowdies, who lost in the playoffs to Minnesota. In 2012, Attinella had a comparable campaign to his rookie season finishing with a 1.07 goals against average and 118 saves while starting all 28 games for the Rowdies.
Attinella was a NASL Best XI in 2012 and was named the player of the month in October. He also won player of the week five times. Attinella had a shutout streak that spread out over more than three full games.
Real Salt Lake finished the season with the MLS’s third fewest goals allowed total with only 35. Attinella would help bolster an already strong goalkeeping corps in Utah. The team currently has three other goalies under contract.
This will be Attinella’s second stay with Salt Lake. In 2011, he was taken with the 14th selection in the MLS Supplemental Draft. Attinella was released by Real before the start of the season. Days later he signed his first professional contract with a team called FC Tampa Bay, now known as the Rowdies.
Real finished 2012 in a disappointing exit from the MLS Playoffs with a loss to Seattle Sounders FC. Seattle would go on to lose to eventual MLS Cup Champions the LA Galaxy. RSL’s record in 2012 was 17 wins, 11 losses, and 6 ties. Their 57 points put them second in the Western Conference behind San Jose.