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Miami FC to Become the Strikers


rmackman

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http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/soccer/fl-miami-fc-strikers-name-0610-20100609,0,118327.story

Miami FC soccer to re-brand with Strikers name

Strikers to be part of team's name in 2011

Miami FC, South Florida's professional soccer team, is reaching back to the region's storied soccer roots in the hopes of re-connecting with fans of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

The team announced Wednesday it will incorporate "Strikers" into its name next season ? its second as a member of the new North American Soccer League.

The team is asking the community to help determine how Strikers should be woven into its name. It also launched strikers2011.com for fans weigh in and follow the transformation.

"You can't re-create history, but if it was successful, you can take it and build on it," Miami FC President Aaron Davidson said.

"There was a lot of substance in the Strikers and a lot of substance in the old NASL."

The original Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League played at Lockhart Stadium from 1977 to 1983. Opponents included the New York Cosmos and heated rival Tampa Bay Rowdies.

At their peak in 1980, the Strikers, owned by the Robbie family which also owned the Dolphins, averaged more than 14,000 fans a game to see Nene Cubillas, Gerd Muller and Ray Hudson.

Those associated with the original Strikers were cautious about Miami FC's move.

"I would prefer they build their own legacy than tag along on someone else's, but I wish them well," former Strikers general manager Tim Robbie said.

"It would be good for soccer to have a team down here that's promoted properly and is successful."

Robbie said he would not support the team's use of the original Strikers logo.

"I wish them all the best in living up to that wonderful name," said Hudson, former Strikers midfielder.

"They certainly have a lot to live up to both on and off the field ? I would have thought a fresh start might have been the best way forward, however, you can understand why they would want to be associated with that great heritage."

Fans, too, aren't quite sure.

"As long as it's done right, I'm for it," said Pieter Brown, head of the Miami Ultras soccer fan club, sporting a Strikers replica jersey at Wednesday's Miami-Baltimore game.

"They need to do things differently than the way Traffic [sports, Miami FC's owner] has done it in the past, otherwise, they'll tarnish the name of the Strikers."

Davidson said he recognizes a name change alone is not enough, but said he believes the team can succeed by forging a stronger commitment to the community and building a more competitive team.

"To me, the Strikers never died," Davidson said. "The Striker Likers never went away. They're all there, they just need a team to latch onto. We need to deliver that team, because the fan base is there."

The original NASL expanded too rapidly and the Strikers moved to Minneapolis in 1984 ? the same year the league folded. A follow-up American Professional Soccer League Strikers team from 1988 to 1994 played in front of 2,000 to 3,000 fans.

Miami FC launched in 2006 as a United Soccer League team. This season, the team moved to the United States Soccer Federation's Division 2 and averages about 1,100 fans a game at Lockhart.

Its opponents include the new Tampa Bay Rowdies, which began play this year after embracing their heritage. The Rowdies sold out their home opener at Steinbrenner Field and are averaging 5,600 fans a game.

Sun Sentinel correspondent Jeff Rusnak contributed to this report. Sarah Talalay can be reached at stalalay@SunSentinel.com or 954-356-4173.

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"The team announced Wednesday it will incorporate "Strikers" into its name next season its second as a member of the new North American Soccer League."

I don't like the sound of incorporate. If they move to Lockhart Stadium full time, they should be the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. However, I suspect they'll probably some up with South Florida Strikers, trying to be more regionally inclusive.

This would be the fourth incarnation of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

Mach I: NASL, 1977-1983

Mach II: ASL/APSL, 1988-1994

Mach III: USL, 1995-1997 (as Florida Strikers 1996-1997)

Mach IV: NASL, 2011-

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Is this necessary? I mean, I thought they had done well building a little bit of a brand for themselves with Miami FC.

Necessary? Probably not. Will it hurt? Probably not.

Unfortunately the name isn't going to change the ownership.

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Wouldn't calling a soccer team the Strikers be like calling a basketball team the Point Guards, or calling a baseball team the Shortstops? A nickname like that has to be confusing as hell when referring to the team's midfielders and backliners.

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Wouldn't calling a soccer team the Strikers be like calling a basketball team the Point Guards, or calling a baseball team the Shortstops? A nickname like that has to be confusing as hell when referring to the team's midfielders and backliners.

Well it wasn't confusing from 1977 through 1994 when the name was used continuously in both Fort Lauderdale and Minnesota. After all, the word 'striker' can refer to one who strikes the ball rather than the name of a position in a line-up.

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Wouldn't calling a soccer team the Strikers be like ... or calling a baseball team the Fielders?

Fixed to reflect the current level of hilarity in the Northern League.

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Don't underestimate the return of the Rowdies to Tampa as a factor in the name change. The Fort Lauderdaler Strikers-Tampa Bay Rowdies rivalry was fantastic. They may be wanting to revive some of that excitement. Miami FC v. Rowdies means nothing. Strikers v. Rowdies evokes memories of fiercely contested matches, by both players and fans.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I wish the franchise luck; maybe there is a better, more localized fan base to appeal to in Broward. The idea of professional soccer in Miami in the right location is very intriguing, but really a pipe dream.

I once met with some of the individuals in charge of Miami FC from Traffic, and they may have been the most unprofessional clowns I have encountered. Their marketing "efforts" were a joke and they failed to understand the convoluted structure of the people and geography of Dade.

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