BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
When I walked into the Pompano Beach Chamber of Commerce to meet with My former Deerfield Beach Observer Editor Ric Green, I saw a schedule for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
As I looked at this schedule, I thought it might be from a youth soccer league. But as I continued to read it, the Strikers were playing in the North American Soccer League (NASL). I decided to call the number and spoke to James Armold.
He filled me in that the Strikers have Returned. The President of the team is 55-year old Tim Robbie, who was the General Manager of the Strikers from 1980-83 when his mother Elizabeth Robbie owned the franchise. Tim Robbie was announced as President on March 9th at a Press Conference at Fort Lauderdale Stadium.
The team is playing at Lockhart Stadium. Their offices along with their practice facility are at Fort Lauderdale Stadium. Ironically, in last weeks edition of the Deerfield Beach Observer, I actually made mention of the Strikers when I was referring to FAU Football.
Now on this Friday, July 15, 2011 morning, when I was actually at the Pompano Beach Chamber of Commerce to meet Ric for new ideas on how to market an alarm company that I'm working with, in addition to other money making projects that I'm exploring, it's ironic that a part of my past could once again be a part of my future.
Time will tell when I meet with the Strikers later this week.
But now after looking at the schedule, I know this isn't an April Fools joke.
Back in the 1980's, I enjoyed covering the Strikers. They were one of the first professional sports teams that I wrote about for the Hallandale Digest.
I met one of my closest friends Chip Namias, who was the Director of Public Relations. We've known each other since 1982. Now Chip and I both wear glasses and have a few more gray hairs.
Robbie and I got a long real well and I enjoyed dealing with the rest of his family especially his father Joe, who was the owner/founder of the Miami Dolphins.
I told Armold that every time that I write a Miami Dolphins story, I always use Joe Robbie Stadium because he was the person that built that Miami Gardens venue which has been the home to several Super Bowls and a Pro Bowl. At one point this was vacant land off the Lake Lucerne site next to Calder Race Course.
As I meet the staff of the Strikers this week, it will be very different because most of them will likely be in their 20's to mid 30's. The only stories they'll know are those that Tim Robbie and the rest of the local media has mentioned to them. Sure a lot of these names will be on the Strikers website.
These names include Arnie Mausser, Teofilo "Nene" Cabillas, Ray Hudson, Thomas Rongen, the late Jan Van Beveran, Colin Fowles, Gerd Muller, George Best and Gordon Banks. When Van Beveran died a few weeks ago, Arnold told me that there was a tribute to him as well as a moment of silence.
It will be interesting to see if the Strikers hire any of these players and give them a role with the organization. It would make good sense to connect the old generation to the new one.
But I know the next time I return to Lockhart Stadium, it will be hard to criticize this place because it was a good soccer facility and there were a lot of great memories. Although the NASL isn't on the same level as Major League Soccer, and I assume that Robbie will want to take his Strikers to the next level; for now, this is the best place for him to be.
Welcome back Strikers. It will be neat to see the Red, Yellow and Black colors on the field. It will be great to take a trip back to memory lane 27 years later.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.
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