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Charles Cuttone

Norb Ecksl

January 16, 2017
Strikers brand, fans deserved better from failed team's ownership

by Norb Ecksl
Sunshine Soccer News Editor

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers will not participate in the North American Soccer League in 2017.

It was announced by the league in conjunction with the resignation of Bill Peterson as Commissioner.

Just one year ago the Strikers were participating in the Florida Cup with high hopes for the 2016 NASL schedule and Lamar Hunt US Open Cup play.

And after some ridiculous decisions that were made by people that did not understand the business of sports and soccer in the United States, the Strikers are no more…at least for 2017. All the promises that were made to the fans from ownership evaporated into thin air. But you could see it coming throughout the 2016 NASL campaign.

However, reviewing the past will not help to save the historic and iconic soccer brand that is the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. The Strikers were a significant part of the NASL, old and new, and the growth of soccer in the state of Florida.

And what about the Strikers’ fans and supporters that had put their faith and hard-earned money into backing the club through thick and thin?

Professional soccer belongs at Lockhart Stadium. It needs some refurbishing, to say the least, but it is a soccer venue with history and a good location. Central Broward Stadium is nice and relatively new, but the location is awful. Location, location, location!

Let someone run the team that has experience in the sports world that knows how to promote the product and produce a crowd on a regular basis. Screaming fans give players support and converts followers to eager fans.

Get a Head Coach that has a winning pedigree and relates to the fans and community. Gunter Kronsteiner? Successful and popular both times he was here, he was summarily let go with no chance to continue to build a winning program.

There are plenty of players available to build a club with a winning system and exciting play. When the Strikers had a goal scorer it was a more exciting product. That player wound up being the Golden Boot winner (MVP). In 2016, popular and talented players were sold off to other clubs in the league. Let’s be the buyer, not the seller!

It will be a tough task to resurrect the Strikers, or for that matter, professional soccer in Fort Lauderdale, for a time. There is a bad feeling in the market because sponsors and supporters were hurt by the club ownership.

The Fort Lauderdale/Broward County market deserves another chance with a commitment from new ownership that can build on the Strikers’ history instead of total destruction. The future is now.

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