The Fort Lauderdale Strikers wasted no time to make a big offseason splash this past week when the club signed former Puerto Rico Islander David Foley to a contract.
Foley, who started playing professional soccer at the young age of 15 for Hartlepool United in the United Kingdom, comes to Fort Lauderdale after spending three seasons with the Puerto Rico Islanders where he recorded 22 goals and 10 assists.
Foley played for Hartlpool for over six years until Adrian Whitbread, who was Puerto Rico’s assistant coach at the time, came to watch him play in the United Kingdom. Needless to say Whitbread was impressed with what he saw and brought over Foley to the NASL in 2010.
From the start of his NASL career Foley impressed.
In his season debut he scored his first career goal in the 12th minute of the season against the Minnesota Stars on April 21, 2010 at Estadio Juan Ramón Loubriel. That season, Foley would go on to tie for the team lead in goals with nine, while picking up one assist.
The next season, there was no “sophomore slump” for Foley as he showed a highly effective and balanced game when he recorded seven goals and six assists on the season. That season he was also named to the NASL’s Best XI Team that season.
When Puerto Rico announced late last year that they would not participate in the 2013 Spring Championship Season, all their current players were released of their contracts in order to be able to sign with different teams.
“Daryl Shore contacted as soon as I was released,” said Foley of the free agency process. “He has been fantastic with me; he’s been contacting me since day one. I was impressed with the interest he showed in signing me.”
Despite the fifth place finished last season, and the early playoff exit to the hands of the Carolina Railhawks, Foley believes Fort Lauderdale has the right pieces in place to win the 2013 Soccer Bowl, “No doubt we could win the championship,” said Foley. “The talent is there, and we have the right coach for the job.”
Foley had nothing but praise for the Strikers organization and its fans, “The team is already very good,” said Foley. “The potential is there, the team has a solid and growing fanbase, there’s nothing not to like about Fort Lauderdale.”
With the addition of Foley, Fort Lauderdale looks to have a very strong front line with players like Andy Herron, Walter Restrepo, and Mark Anderson, who combined for 25 goals last season.
“I think this is the best front line in the NASL,” said Foley. “This played a big part in me coming to Fort Lauderdale.”
Fellow Englishmen, Mark Anderson, lives five minutes away from Foley in the United Kingdom and the two already have a good relationship.
“He [Anderson] is very clever with the ball and very aware of what’s going on around him,” said Foley. “He’s the kind of player that I will thrive playing alongside because he can get that final pass and you can bet it will be a quality pass. Not only that, but he obviously scores his shares of goals.”
The savvy veteran will look to bring leadership to Fort Lauderdale and lead by example.
Despite not being a big fan of the new schedule format just yet, Foley understands the importance of winning early, and often, “It’s important to get off to a good start with the way the league is formatted this year, if you win the Spring Championship Season you are already in the Soccer Bowl,” says Foley. “And that in itself is already a major accomplishment heading into the Fall Championship Season.”