By: Pedro Heizer
The San Antonio Scorpions and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers have agreed on a deal that will send the rights of Walter Restrepo to San Antonio, and in return, it looks as if the Strikers have received a transfer fee.
However, upon further investigation it is believed that the transfer fee the Strikers received was in fact hotel and transportation arrangements for their stay in San Antonio when the clubs face off on June 7th. After the Atlanta Silverbacks announcement earlier this morning that they would not have a head coach this upcoming season, trading a player for goods and services doesn’t sound that bad.
The San Antonio Scorpions president Howard Cornfield has this to say about the deal, “The Scorpions would like to thank Bill Brendel of the Crockett Hotel and Mark Thronson of Shark Limo, two long-term, great partners, for their incredible assistance. It was only through their assistance that we were able to get this deal done.”
Restrepo, who is widely regarded as one of the best attacking players in the NASL, finished the 2013 NASL season scoring two goals in 1,188 minutes of play. It was his first time back in action after recovering from knee surgery at the end of a brilliant 2012 campaign.
During that brilliant season, Restrepo led the league with eight assists and added six goals to his name, which helped him be named into the 2012 NASL Best XI. Restrepo played in 1,793 minutes in his first season with the Strikers and established himself as one of the best and most dynamic attacking players in the North American Soccer League.
After his stellar 2012 campaign Restrepo fell out of grace within the Strikers coaching staff. Former head coach Daryl Shore often hinted that Restrepo needed “attitude adjustments”, and once the Kronstainer regime took over Restrepo would find the same difficulty cracking the Starting XI. Nevertheless, despite issues with the coaching staff, Restrepo was a fan favorite in Fort Lauderdale and was named the 2013 Ultras Player of the Year, an yearly award by The Ultras which is voted on by the fans.
Restrepo was born in San Diego and has played professionally with several teams in Colombia before he returned to the United States. Restrepo has played with teams such as Deportes Tolima, Boyacá Chicó, and Express Rojo, appearing in both the Categoría Primera A and the Categoría Primera B between 2006 and 2010. In 2011 he signed with the Strikers where he has spent the last three seasons.
“Walter is a technically gifted player that we hold in high regard who brings attacking flair and quality on the ball,” said Scorpions Head Coach Alen Marcina. “He has demonstrated the ability to be a dominating player in the NASL and he is focused on winning and earning an opportunity to play at higher levels. He is a player with a wide array of attacking weapons and is a game-changer and a terrific acquisition for our club.”
The 25 year-old has international experience as well, representing the Colombian national team at the U-17 level. The creative midfield player joins fellow NASL standouts Danny Barrera and Shaun Saiko as recently added midfielders to the Scorpions roster, and the three players will provide an exciting brand of soccer in San Antonio.
“Walter will bring energy and excitement to our lineup and further solidifies a revamped roster that features four NASL Best XI players”, said Cornfield.
Restrepo’s signing brings to seven the number of players committed to the Scorpions for the 2014 season. Restrepo joins fellow newcomers Jonathan Fana, Danny Barrera, Shaun Seiko and returnees Tomasz Zahorski, Stephen Deroux and Greg Janicki.