Sleepwalking through winter: Inside the Fort Lauderdale Strikers offseason of discontent (Part II)

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Read Part 1 here

Transitions and change are never easy. Each NASL club in recent years that has changed ownership or management has gone through a difficult transition. I was part of a transition at the league level that saw several senior staff, myself included out of work. But Commissioner Bill Peterson had a plan and a rationale for going forward in the way he did. His years of experience in the soccer business entitled him to make the decisions he made and his leadership has attempted to steer the NASL through the choppy waters of American professional soccer.

So far so good for Peterson as his decisions on ownership and expansion have been spot on thus far, provided he gets the convoluted Oklahoma City situation fixed. Peterson looks especially good when compared to his former colleague, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, whose duplicitous statements on expansion and mishandling of the New York City FC fiasco have made him a mockable figure in the past year. However, Fort Lauderdale provides perhaps a greater challenge than any other the NASL has faced under Peterson and in this particular case a place where the league had to get it right, it appears to be going pear-shaped.

The Miami/Fort Lauderdale market is the single largest metro area where NASL has a team and MLS does not. Garber and David Beckham have announced an intention to place a team in Miami by 2017, but delays and political problems locally have stalled that effort for now. This delay gave NASL and the Strikers an unexpected opening they had to take advantage of to remain a viable force in the market when Beckham does arrive. But this offseason has been one of confusion and questions.

Pro soccer in the United States consists of political fiefdoms, factions and sub units of each. Coming from the political world, I found soccer in this country to be far more “political” than politics itself. Navigating this minefield is especially difficult for younger or unseasoned professionals. The Strikers have unfortunately since November mixed naivety with a certain degree of arrogance. The overworked and underpaid team staff has done the best job they could but have fallen short thanks to the issues we are describing in this series.

When the Strikers new ownership took over they had a  grand vision for the club. One that leveraged global branding into a football club that could be profitable. The problem is that in the minor leagues of American soccer making money is very difficult, and getting to those lofty goals takes some meticulous planning and understanding of the marketplace.

Appearing on the January 8, 2015 Tailgate Show, co-owner Rafael Bertani admitted that the due diligence process for the investors in buying the Strikers had begun during the 2014 calendar year. This is a shockingly short period of time to evaluate the market, considering the team was bought in September. By comparison, Indy Eleven, one of the best stories in American soccer took years to come to fruition. Owner Ersal Ozdemir first looked at the market in 2009 and initially spent time evaluating NASL in the first half of 2010, yet did not announce the team had joined  the league until January 2013, more than three years after he had begun the process.

In his Tailgate Show appearance, Bertani also mentioned that the owners had spent some time in Phoenix in order to understand American soccer better. In fact, Ricardo Geromel had spent some time in Phoenix early in 2014. Andre Chaves, the recently named Director of Soccer who has an ownership stake in the Strikers had attempted to purchase the ailing USL Pro franchise Phoenix FC last year. Chaves had promised a link to Phoenix FC with the Brazilian club Botofogo. It also is very possible Geromel was lined up to run the club on a day-to-day basis as he was working with Chaves at the time.

But Botofogo, represented by Ayrton Mandarino the Commercial Director of the club and a middleman Sam Mormen were talking with USL Pro directly as well as with potential expansion groups in other cities. Botofogo’s reps also met with Orlando City SC President Phil Rawlins and potential expansion groups from an unnamed west coast city as well as Hartford.

Around this time Chaves was denied the opportunity to buy the club by USL Pro and the team folded. It was replaced quickly by Arizona United FC who competed during the 2014 USL Pro season. Botofgo continued to talk with USL PRO officials and potential expansion groups with Chaves involvement. A source close to the USL PRO league hierarchy told us that Chaves was rejected as an owner “by the league itself.” Chaves may have well been involved in Botofogo’s efforts to secure another USL franchise but one prospective USL expansion owner who dealt with Botofogo indicated to me he had never heard of Chaves.

Based on our USL source, Chaves was rejected as an owner by the third-division USL Pro but somehow has become a partner in the a second division club. The second division league, NASL has at least in theory far more stringent ownership standards than USL Pro.  It is possible that Chaves was added as an owner after the sale of the Strikers was completed? In that case should the NASL have vetted him? Does the NASL have policies regarding the vetting of minority owners?

In May 2010 during my first year as NASL Communications Director we faced a situation in St Louis where the owner of the club Jeff Cooper had transferred shares in the team to the London-based Vaid brothers who ran out of money and skipped town in the middle of the season. The Vaid brothers were never vetted or approved as owners by the NASL. While the Chaves situation isn’t identical, given the Strikers unwillingness to spend decent money on players and coaches thus far under the new ownership, questions must be asked of the league and team.

Both the NASL and the Strikers declined to respond to inquiries on whether Andre Chaves was vetted as an owner for the club.

Chaves being named Director of Soccer was a factor in the departure of respected coach Günter Kronsteiner and the inability to attract other respected coaches who were interested in the job. Chaves had previously never worked in soccer and multiple sources have indicated his desire for control over soccer decisions coupled with his relationship with the ownership group would have made the situation untenable for an experienced pro coach. This also factored into the decisions by some players to leave Fort Lauderdale, though a bigger factor in these choices were money and the Strikers’ perceived lack of professionalism when compared to other NASL clubs.

But the Strikers do boast a big name co-owner with deep pockets. That would be the Brazilian playing legend Ronaldo who last kicked a ball professionally in February 2011. Since, then he has been involved in a variety of businesses including his own soccer academy. Running concurrent with Ronaldo’s start of involvement with the Strikers was a deal between the club and Brazilian giants Corinthians, one of the Brazilian great’s former clubs.

In June 2013, Orlando City had played a friendly against Corinthians at the Citrus Bowl, and that week high-level discussions between the Strikers and the club began. It appears the process of a partnership may have already been in motion when the current owners took over the club but they must be given full marks for closing the deal and bringing Corinthians to Fort Lauderdale for a week in early January.

The Strikers got a major boost in local and international press when Ronaldo was announced as a co-owner in December 2014, though many of the MLS-centric soccer writers who self-police the blogosphere and twitter attempted to ignore the story. But the defensive nature of these writers reaction to Ronaldo indicated that the story was in fact a big deal.

But following the Ronaldo announcement, the Strikers oddly took two weeks off for the Holidays. It was during this period Tampa Bay loaded up on former Strikers players and the momentum from the Ronaldo announcement appeared to be lost. The club was the last in NASL to put its schedule on the team website and instead of aggressively marketing season ticket sales for the holidays as had been done prior to the 2011, 2013 and 2014 seasons, the club took time off and waited for January.

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Upon returning from the holidays in January, the club had a laundry list of things to accomplish in a relatively short period of time. But the focus remained on the former Brazilian player, including the manufacture of 5,000 car magnets with Ronaldo’s face on them (pictured). Orlando City had devised a strategy of getting 10,000 magnets on cars around Central Florida with the new club crest but Fort Lauderdale’s strategy was to place 5,000 car magnets with Ronaldo’s face around the community. Had Orlando City employed this same strategy with Kaka’s face they would have been widely mocked. But for the Strikers, Ronaldo trumped the actual brand. ”

“He is getting more and more and more excited with every second that goes by. We have a fantastic agenda for him. Tonight we are going to have a world-class party,” said Geromel about Ronaldo on January 14. “Ronaldo does a lot. He opens hundreds of thousands, every door. As he says, he is 100% committed”.

However the 100% commitment of the Brazilian superstar has to be questioned considering recent events. Ronaldo was in south Florida after competing in a poker tournament in the Bahamas. After doing a private sit down with SI’s Grant Wahl, Ronaldo did a press conference on January 14. The event was not so ironically held at a casino, Hollywood’s Hard Rock. After the “world class party” that Geromel described the team basked in the spotlight of international press. Unfortunately some of it was less than positive as Simon Evans column in The Guardian and Pedro Heizer’s 90 Minutes Strong piece indicated.

Meanwhile much of the hard work done by Geromel and his fiance Madison Stanford the club’s co-managing partner was being undone by Ronaldo. The previous four years the Strikers did poorly in selling sponsorship. The early returns on the commercial side for the Strikers new ownership were extremely positive. As opposed to recent years, doors were opening for the club.

But Ronaldo who was supposed to open more doors began to make the job of Geromel and Stanford even tougher. After a late cancellation to drop the puck at a Florida Panthers game on January 16, he blew off fans and a major team sponsor the next day at the club’s fan fest. Ronaldo’s reasoning to skip out of the fan fest early? He had to go play poker.

Ronaldo’s disappearance invites the obvious comparison with David Beckham. It is inconceivable to imagine a man of Beckham’s stature and public image blowing off fans, sponsors or the Florida Panthers in order to play poker or do anything else for that matter. While Strikers fans including the supporters group Flight 19 have attempted make a positive Ronaldo vs. Beckham comparison, the reality is the two former Real Madrid teammates are miles apart in terms of stature, professionalism and image. One must also assume despite Ronaldo’s rhetoric about south Florida and soccer his motivations for investing in the Strikers are to play poker at local casinos and to bank profits off a new soccer academy in Broward County he plans to start. Beckham’s motivations for a Miami-based MLS team could be also business related but his overall commitment to the area and to the sport will likely be better than Ronaldo’s.

In preparing this series, I have also been reminded by many about Ronaldo’s image problems – most notably this 2008 night out in Milan. Also of note is Ronaldo’s public spat with fellow Brazilian legend Romario, a former Miami FC player (Miami FC became the Fort Lauderdale Strikers after the 2010 season) over the level of graft and corruption that surrounded the 2014 FIFA World Cup which was held in Brazil. His image is not anywhere near that of David Beckham regardless of whatever efforts the Strikers and NASL make to prove otherwise.

Ricardo Geromel and Madison Stanford are well-meaning and smart young professionals. From my vantage point it is unfortunate they were not given the tools or knowledge for immediate success.  Instead they seemed to have been led on a merry dance, where funds are less readily available than had hoped, the political game within the soccer community wasn’t played well

The vitriol that some fans have directed towards Geromel and Stanford is unfortunate. They are after all trying the best they can with limited resources and virtually no tools. The same can be said for the competent and hard working staff holdovers from the previous regime. But ultimately, Ronaldo, Chaves and the Brazilian-based owners must give Geromel and his staff the ability to succeed and let the media and fans understand what exactly the long-term plan is. Up to this point in time neither has been done.

In the next and final installment of this series we will look at the club’s future under this ownership group.

Thursday’s Part III – Ultimately Beckham is coming to town. What is the future of the Strikers? 

 

45 comments

  1. The Andre Chaves Phoenix link is fascinating. Ronaldo os a joke abd has sucked all the air out of the room.

    While I appreciate you doing this I think you’ve become soft.Rafael did nothing but lie on the tailgate show to get the flight 19 guys off his back and now they’re shilling for the team. And you were so soft on Ricardo and his little lady.

    Seriously how about an expose on the weakness of the supporters group who have leading members working in the front office covering for these terrible owners and an actual discussion about the wisdom of putting a 28-year-old in charge of a major professional sports franchise without any experience???

    I appreciate this series of articles but you really pulled your punches this time and it is very disappointing to many people.

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    1. Flight 19er · · Reply

      I take a completely different interpretation of this article. Sure he’s said “support Ricardo” but has said the team is unprofessional and that the management is naive. So what was Traffic then?

      Chaves is a stand-up guy. We’ve met him. Kartik obviously didn’t bother to try and meet him.

      This article is again slander. Kartik go back to your Tampon buddies or Orlando Cash $hitty.

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      1. Because you’ve met Chaves he’s a stand up guy?

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  2. Well sequels are always more disappointing than the first one right?

    The first part was so informative and express the frustrations most fans are having with the owners. But the second part attempts to exempt the actual decision-makers the two people running the team from the mistakes that are being made and instead place responsibility on someone we have never met and on Ronaldo who we know really doesn’t have that much influence and is just being used for his name.

    I know you have your integrity and your reasons for doing things but I cannot help but think Ricardo himself or Madison got to you in the last 24 hours. It’s a shame but it’s pretty obvious from this article they did.

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    1. The team never responded to my requests to talk and never answered the questions I had sent them in an email Saturday night. I gave them 48 hours to respond and they never did.

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      1. So Kartik, Peterson himself got to you? I mean honestly the Strikers are a much bigger joke now than under traffic and this kid Ricardo is just plain silly!

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      2. The league never responded to my inquiries either.

        I am not denying Ricardo is WAY over his head and has made frequent and comical mistakes.

        What I do believe though is that he hasn’t had the backing he needed and that the absentee owners pushed a mythical plan on him that isn’t attainable and fundamentally misread both the market and the soccer business in the United States.

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    2. Flight 19er · · Reply

      The bigger question is whether the Rowdies or Beckham got to Kartik to write this series. I’d like a disclosure how much he is getting paid. This is an insult to the good people who support the Strikers.

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      1. Only people being paid are the Flight 19 members in the front office!

        I do have a problem with this article by Kartik though as he attempts to paint a picture of poor Ricardo being duped by snakes around him including Chaves and Ronaldo. No doubt Chaves is a snake in the grass. But Ricardo is just as guilty as the rest and has ABSOLUTELY no business running a team. He’s 27 years old or whatever and clearly has no experience or the temperament to do this. He loses his cool and has to draw attention to himself by saying the ridiculous things we’ve seen in both parts of this series and in other articles.

        Ronaldo also made a comment about bagging women to Grant Wahl or sleeping with women. The prostitute thing I had not known. Is this guy the type you want fronting the team? The National Organization for Women and others ought to have a field day with this team!

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      2. Ronaldo is not the symbol of a role model I would put forward. Sexist, gambling, partied so much he was shot by 30. I think this is why a lot of people here in the states forget all about him is because by the time the game was becoming mainstream here, he was out of shape, and ridiculed for partying too much.

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      3. OD - Flight 19 · ·

        Jeff – Is it not a dream of many supporters to find work with their favorite club? Don’t be ridiculous with your insinuations, as if those you’re speaking of weren’t with us in the stands of Lockhart well-before applying for an opportunity in the front office.

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      4. The issue isn’t people getting jobs. I think we are all entitled to that and dream of working for our favorite team. The problem is when you have a supposedly INDEPENDENT supporters group where team employees are active. Kartik also VERY GUILTY of this as he when working for the league got close to our supporters and Tampa’s and made all sorts of unprofessional allegations about Orlando City and its supporters. Now he’s not working for NASL anymore and is more objective but he should admit his judgement was totally clouded by working for the league yet tried to pass himself off as independent.

        So let me be perfectly frank. If Flight 19 were a real supporters group they’d be raising awareness about the broken promises by these owners. All the talk of big money, increased marketing, more outreach. All have proven after a few LONG months, LONG because they made them LONG to be half truths if not outright lies.

        I would also raise The Tailgate Show issue again. Kartik has skirted it in part 2 after raising it in the first one. Bertani said 18 players were signed? Why is it we have only 10-12 players currently 3 weeks later! Bertani said we had a coach. Kartik debunked that in the first piece. Why do we have to share a coach with a youth club? Is this really a professional team???

        Kartik does not raise the issue but I will. Around town it is known Ronaldo BLEW OFF THE SHIRT SPONSOR. I don’t share Kartik’s views of feeling sorry for Geromel as Ronaldo undid his hard work. It is Ricardo who after all talked about global branding, beer drone, world class parties and Beckham as an underwear model. But I do sympathize slightly on Ronaldo not being a closer.

        Amaury Nunes as GM? Kartik has not even raised this issue but it’s comical when you consider how connected and respected the guys signing players for Tampa and Jacksonville are by comparison. Is that really the best they could do? Or maybe he is working on a commission because he is an agent also.

        Cheap, cheap, cheap.

        Lies, lies, lies

        Keep dreaming supporters of better days. They aren’t coming.

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      5. OD - Flight 19 · ·

        With a stadium and academy construction (which will also require land purchase) in the near future, where would you have rather seen money quickly pumped into at this point? I’m not being patronizing here, I truly want to know why you believe them to be cheap?

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      6. Stadium? Where is the plan? As Kartik said in the first article, he’d like to know the plan but all Ricardo does is give him and other reporters platitudes.

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  3. This Chaves thing is very worrying

    So here is a guy rejected by a lower league for ownership because we have to assume he couldn’t come up with the money and he has no experience running a soccer club but yet was put above our own Gunther and any potential coach

    I think unearthed something here which is so damaging to the credibility of this organization going forward. This is why they cannot sign good players this is why they could not secure a really high-level coach

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    1. This whole series has been well written. It’s been brilliant but it’s basically laid out things that we already knew previously without the nice narrative Kartik has added. It’s pieced things together well. The only bit of new info is this Phoenix USL thing which is explosive if actually true.

      I can tell you as a fan having spoken
      to coach this guy Chavez was a big factor in him saying bye to the team. Probably the same for Mulroy. Since he’s been rejected by USL that begs a TON of questions.

      I think it is obvious that these guys don’t have much money. They may
      have it on paper but they don’t have liquid assets. Thus they have to make money to spend it. We see that with charging for fan fest charging for Corinthians charging to try out charging to meet Ronaldo. Real sports teams don’t do that.

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  4. Miami Ultra · · Reply

    Great article Kartik. These guys are jokes. Learned so much about this Chaves character who obviously isn’t qualified to run a team and how Ronaldo blew off the fans and sponsors. He is in South Florida just play poker as you apply. It is a shame because the strikers have quite a legacy and quite a brand behind them but when Beckham comes to town this will all be over. This team will be put out of its misery. These guys are not qualified to run a soccer team and it is obvious they don’t have the money they claimed. You need to follow the money more find out if it is real and why Darnell King and Martin Nunez were offered less than half of what Tampa Bay offered them.

    The fans who buy lines from these guys are gullible. I did not listen to the Tailgate Show but they have lied through their teeth evidently.

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    1. Flight 19er · · Reply

      Want to know why the Strikers are struggling with players and coaches? Ask Kartik! The management knows he’s tampered with players and coaches telling them not to go to the Strikers and sign with the Tampa the team he really supports. Some so called journalist he is.

      As for Beckham go support him and his fantasy and don’t ever show your face at Lockhart again.

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  5. Striker Liker · · Reply

    Bravo! Well done again. This Andre Chaves dude who was responsible for Gunter leaving is shady. An operator type. Where was all the reporting on his Phoenix failings before today?

    Thanks for exposing this.

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    1. Operator type might well describe Chavez. Good description. From all I can gather he had placed himself in the middle of the Phoenix deal and dealing with Botofogo but doesn’t have the capital to do deals on his own. I have heard theories that Geromel is the same sort of character but I cannot ascertain that as of yet.

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  6. Good stuff. But you say Ricardo Geromel is doing the best he can with limited resources from the owners. Is he not an owner, meaning a big part of why there are limited resources?

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    1. thanks Jake – I am under the impression he’s an owner in name only and actually has little/no money invested. Much like Andrew Nestor with the Rowdies. Unlike Andrew though, this guy wasn’t prepared for the role. It could be argued Nestor wasn’t initially either, but Andrew had a two year run up to the Rowdies actually playing and so in 2008 and 2009 he learned the ropes.

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      1. Ah, that makes sense then. Thanks. I’m really hoping these are just growing pains, but the apparent lack of early investment so far is very troubling though.

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      2. Um no Kartik. Nestor hired Perry vanDerBeck a legend who was well connected in the sport and brought your buddy Farrukh Q. in as an adviser. Ricardo on the other hand has brought in Chaves, Nunes and the Ronaldo freak show. Nestor learned and hired good people. Ricardo has not. It is not your age but how humble you are and who you surround yourself with.

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  7. Ricardo is too wet behind the ears to run anything. The bottom line is the strikers were doomed to failure when he was named the managing partner.

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    1. OD - Flight 19 · · Reply

      What are you basing that off of? Because he looks young? Do you know anything of his or the other owners’ history, ya know, since Ricardo is not solely operating on his own? If did, you might be encouraged by owner Rafael Bertani’s vast knowledge of entreprenurealism and his experience managing start-up ventures. Or Carlos Martins’ mastery of teaching and education and how that will impact our developmental academies. Or Paulo Cesso’s experience with incorporating innovative technologies to grow businesses. Ohhhh that’s right, you only develop your opinions based on blog jargon.

      Give the man time to improve the way this ORGANIZATION operates first, which includes hiring the right soccer minds to do the “running” of the team aspect you’re probably only referring to.

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      1. The right soccer mind was someone who never has worked in soccer. OD you and I are just as qualified as Chaves, and Kartik now has brought more to the table on his background with his excellent digging in this article.

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  8. OD - Flight 19 · · Reply

    Just disappointed in the overall lack of appreciation for what is actually being done for the Strikers and the NASL by this group of investors. I have nothing but the utmost respect and appreciation for our owners, who you are all judging based on a little over 2 months of work (Soccer Bowl was Nov. 15th). They’re all great people who I’ve enjoyed getting to know and discussing the future of the club with. As for their business practices: the kinks will be worked out as a new culture is developed and relationships are built.

    I’m not really a fan of the internet rant, as I prefer to save what limited wittiness I have for The Tailgate Show, however it’s clear the immense amount of work that needed to be done with this franchise is being overlooked. The sale of this team was not merely a passing of the baton from a business aspect; maintaining those transferable characteristics of a club is up to all of us that have a connection to the team’s legacy, whether that is cherishing the history, honoring/creating traditions, and consistently supporting our players. Does anyone have an actual idea of how long it takes just to implement a staff reorganization plan?

    Those that have invested financially into the Strikers have earned the right to run the team however they see fit. I’ve been lucky enough to have my opinions heard at the supporter-driven programs which our owners took the time out of their busy schedules to attend (from the radio show to watch parties in small pubs). I believe in their long-term vision and the careful allocation of resources because I’m a patient person, once having sat among the hundreds of people at Miami FC games. I urge those of you writing this team off before they’ve even played a game to join me in the parking lot for some Tailgate Yoga to relieve yourself of that stress and bitterness over the fact you didn’t get an interview for Tim Robbie’s job!

    #FTLTID

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  9. Jonathan · · Reply

    We all know how long it takes to implement a plan but based on the early actions, no plan was really in place. They panicked and made ridiculous statements that were DISRESPECTFUL.

    Exhibit a) Calling Beckham an “underwear model”
    Exhibit b) Going behind Coach’s back and talking to Assistants trying to undermine and force out Gunter.Ricardo did this. Kartik knows it yet has chosen to shill for the Strikers by not mentioning it here. That is SO UNPROFESSIONAL
    Exhibit c) LYING to players and dragging out negotiations without formal offers. Another Kartik knows and won’t report. Again some may think Kartik is being tough here but those who know the real story know he is being as soft as a pussy cat
    Exhibit d) Bertani going on the tailgate show and claiming our players were not good values and had big egos after going to the title game. Disrespectful and dishonest
    Exhibit e) Giving international media interview before local media. Is this really cool for a second division team?
    Exhibit f) Putting a guy who has never worked in soccer in control of soccer giving him the title DIRECTOR OF SOCCER. Kartik has done well here bringing up some issues no one knew about until today. They wanted to make this guy Gunther’s boss!
    Exhibit g) Hiring a youth coach who will continue to coach his youth club. Not only bad business but humiliating when compared to every other NASL franchise.

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    1. OD - Flight 19 · · Reply

      Just withholding judgement until I see some results. Will resentfully admit the doubters were correct if the ship sinks, but I just don’t see the point in getting all worked up yet. Hope to banter about this more at the Flight 19 tailgates, Jonathan!

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  10. I’m opting not to renew my season tickets after witnessing the last few months.

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  11. A Florida Democrat · · Reply

    I could care less about soccer (at least the American type. I like Liverpool) but this has been interesting. You need to write long political historical narratives like this also. Just a suggestion.

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  12. I felt you were being too nice Kartik.
    I’m still mad they took apart such a great team and got rid of a legend of a coach in Gunter. Such a big mistake by the new owners and shows you how out of touch with soccer fans they are. I mean, they have said and done the wrong things consistently.

    So basically they start from scratch with cheap players… Reduce overhead, keep costs to a minimum and cross fingers Ronaldo will attract fans and sell them enough jerseys to bring in a profit this year. Because It doesn’t look like their goal is to win the championship. Instead, Build from there slowly, eventually Get new stadium, build Ronaldo Academy… Baby steps. That’s the plan right?

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    1. We assume that’s the plan because we haven’t seen one. But logically you spend big at first to create the momentum to get a stadium (Like San Antonio, Orlando and Tampa Bay did) then peel back. I also have to stress the Ronaldo Soccer Academy is NOT a Strikers project but a Ronaldo project. Local youth clubs, the ones Tom Mulroy worked with to support the Strikers aren’t thrilled with it and it is very possible the income generated won’t be invested in the Strikers. Keep that in mind.

      At the same time I can sympathize with the owners about Lockhart. I wouldn’t put any more money into that stadium unless they have a long-term guarantee to play there. I agree with them on that, don’t waste money on Lockhart for now until the city and FAA hash out a permanent deal.

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  13. Think some people are writing the new owners off too early. They’ve definately made mistakes and some doozies at that but its not too late for them to right the Strikers ship. I’ll reserve judgement until the summer. Hopefully they learn from their mistakes and have a good 2015 season. Good article Kartik, keep em coming,

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  14. Enjoying the Comments · · Reply

    It seems like the only positive comments seem to be coming from the Flight 19ers that are working in the office or their family members. Anyone that has anything positive to say at this point in time is either naive or delusional. For starters the Strikers are not going to have a youth academy, Ronaldo will be having Youth Academies and they wont have anything to do with the strikers from a business perspective other then the team promoting it. Also that academy will lose money every month untill whoever is financing it decides enough is enough. If you don’t believe that last statement just take a look at every academy a professional has started in this country and most have failed miserably. The best bet for this business venture is what Luis Perea has in Kendall where his academy has around 80-100 kids from ages 4-12 train with him 3 times a week. The biggest difference between Perea’s school and Ronaldo’s will be that Ronaldo wont be around and Perea is at every training session. The kids at Ronaldo’s school will leave real quick once they realize its just his name on the school and he wont actually be there.

    Now on to the front office if you can even call it that. Ricardo and Madison have no experience in sports, neither does Chavez, the new GM has played but never worked in a front office or negotiated a contract. Basically a couple of inexperienced owners decided to hire a bunch of people with no experience, I see real success with that group together LOL. All of you flight 19 people are happy because these new guys “listen” to you and supposedly Tom Mulroy didn’t. I have no idea what did or didnt happen with Mulroy and what he did or didnt say to any of you, what I do know is that there are like 20 of you so you dont really speak for most of the fans in the stadium you only speak for your small group. Most of us or i should say all of us except the 20 of you were very happy with what Mulroy did and the direction the team went over the last 2 years. We were on the right path and we were finally relevant in the South Florida soccer community something that hadnt happened before. This new group is going to take that work and flush it down the drain. To make matter worse they hired a Youth Coach to coach a professional team while also letting him coach his youth team, thats a huge conflict of interest and all that is going to do is make the soccer community turn their back on the Strikers again. If you dont think thats a big deal then you obviously havent paid attention the last 2 years, our best crowds came during an era where all the clubs were behind us due to all the hard work Mulroy and his team did. Right now it looks like Flight 19 is going to be the only people in the stadium like it was pre Mulroy, the atmosphere at games will go back to being non-existent.

    Having said all that I hope this ownership group turns things around and make me eat my words, as a South Florida soccer fan nothing would make me happier.

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    1. OD - Flight 19 · · Reply

      I don’t work for the team nor am I related to anyone who does. Certainly see how everything you’ve mentioned could cause problems, but they haven’t yet, so I’ve no reason not to wait and see how things turn out.

      Loved Soccer Tom and appreciated the work he was doing in the community. You should come by the tailgate some time and talk Strikers with us. Not all 20 of us have the same views on things 😉

      Like

    2. I can echo what OD says as well as that I know the members that are working for the club have pulled back for years and even more now because of the possible conflict of interest. One way or the other, I love this club and have loved it for a long time. I don’t have to love the owners or even the players. When I say “Strikers till I Die”, that’s what it is. I know that many other people don’t say that but as long as someone is on that grass wearing a jersey that says Strikers somewhere on it I will be there and support them. There’s the problem with people worrying who’s getting catered to or not. Let’s also keep in mind that we haven’t even seen a second of a game played this year.

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  15. AmericanMag · · Reply

    Where’s part III???

    Like

    1. Tomorrow sometime

      Like

  16. Alex Gago · · Reply

    Be care full of what you wish for. Many here to include myself were calling for new ownership and new stadium last year. We got what we wished for. Indeed, a continuation of Traffic Brazilian Sports soccer a bag full of Brazilian bananas; inexperience and uneducated in understanding the complex sports entertainment market in the U.S. Hold on to Lockhart stadium for it has endured longer than any banana boat ownership group. Be care full of what you wish for!

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  17. […] note on the three-part Sleepwalking Through Winter series we ran last week on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. The articles got a record number of hits […]

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  18. […] the two short months since our “Sleepwalking Through Winter” series originally ran, Geromel and co-managing partner Madison Stanford have made some significant […]

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  19. it’s an investment win win solution for the owner.

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