With many new faces and only 33 days left before the 2013 NASL Spring Championship Season begin, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers are diligently training as they get ready to host FC Edmonton at Lockhart Stadium April 6.
With core players such as Matt Glaeser, Scott Gordon, Mark Anderson, Walter Restrepo and Andy Herron, and with the help of high-profile signings such as David Foley, who played for the Puerto Rico Islanders last season, and former Honduran national team veteran Ivan Guerrero, Fort Lauderdale looks like one of the favorites to win the Spring Championship Title and have their shot at the Soccer Bowl in the fall.
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.”
“We are very excited that Foley decided to join the Strikers,” said head coach Daryl Shore. “We feel that adding him to our group will make us an exciting team moving forward.”
“We are trying to chance the mentality in the locker room,” said Shore. “A player like Guerrero brings a competitive nature to every training session, and works hard. He’s a veteran and someone who the rest of the defense will listen to.”
Also signed during the offseason were Manny Gonzalez and Gonzalo De Mujica.
Gonzalez, who spent all of last season training with the team before signing his first professional contract in January, comes to the Strikers after playing in the collegiate level at Florida Gulf Coast University. De Mujica comes to the Strikers from Orlando City U-23.
“Being the practice squad last season really helped me when I was signed this season,” said Gonzalez.
“Gonzalez is a young attacking player who we feel still has some growing to do when it comes to figuring out how things are done but both have done well so far, and have earned a spot on our roster”
Another big part of the roster is Walter Restrepo, who was lost last season after tearing his ACL in practice.
Team doctors gave him a one month timetable for him to be back at 100%. “February 22 doctors told us he would be ready in a month, so by March 22nd he’ll be able to get kicked,” joked Shore.
However, Shore understands that and ACL tear isn’t something to take lightly, “he’s in the final stages of hi ACL rehabilitation,” said the coach. “We don’t want to push him too much, if he’s not 100% April 6, we will use him as a reserve until he’s 100%.”
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers open up their pre-season this week versus the Florida International University Panthers, at FIU Stadium. The Strikers will then go on to the Copa Latina, and next week will be in the Florida west coast as they take on the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles.
Below is a video from the Strikers practice earlier this week: