After reaching a major milestone with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Matt Pickens is coming home.
Pickens, who became just the fifth player to play in 100 matches for the USL squad during its modern era as he shut out the Harrisburg City Islanders in St. Petersburg Saturday, 3-0.
Pickens made two saves in the match for his seventh shutout of the season and third in a row. Additionally, Pickens was handed the captain’s armband when Joe Cole left the game in the seventh minute.
Pickens and the Rowdies come to Fenton Sunday to play Saint Louis FC in a USL match at World Wide Technology Soccer Park. The match kicks off at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are on sale and can be obtained through Saint Louis FC.
It will be the first time as a professional that PIckens has played in St. Louis, but not the first time he’s played at that venue.
As a junior for the Borgia Knights in 1998, he stopped a St. Dominic penalty kick with under 30 seconds to play in a Class 1A-3A quarterfinal game, helping lift the team to the program’s first-ever state tournament appearance. Borgia returned there to place third that season.
After graduating Borgia, Pickens went to St. Louis Community College-Meramec before transferring to Missouri State University, then Southwest Missouri State.
Pickens began an association with the Chicago Fire, playing for its Premier Development League before being drafted 19th overall by the Fire in the Major League Soccer Superdraft in 2004.
Pickens made his initial mark, helping the Fire win the 2006 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, beating the Los Angeles Galaxy, 3-1.
Pickens also ascended to the Fire’s starting spot that season as well. Pickens played for the Fire in 2007 before his deal ended and he signed a short-term contract with London’s Queens Park Rangers. After that, he had trials with several teams in Great Britain and Europe before agreeing to terms with the Colorado Rapids in 2009. The Rapids had acquired his rights from the Fire through a trade.
Pickens became a mainstay in goal for the Rapids and helped the team to the 2010 MLS Cup championship.
In 2013, Pickens suffered a broken arm in a match against Real Salt Lake March 16. In 2014, the Rapids released Pickens. He was claimed by the New England Revolution, who sold his rights to Tampa Bay, where he has been the normal starter since joining the team.