In case you missed my story yesterday about the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers running out of money and seeking a loan from the league, here it is.
And here is the Strikers' response:
In the soccer business, in general teams lose money. It is a simple reality of world football and American soccer, at this moment. The Fort Lauderdale Strikers like any other football club faces this reality.
It is natural that any club will run into issues that will create potential hiccups in the way the business operates. In difficult times, the club needs lines of credit and community support to persevere through the difficult periods. The Fort Lauderdale Strikers have a two-year-old ownership group in a six-year-old league. At this point in time participating in league play costs our organization more money than we obtain in return.
The Strikers are in the process of recycling our club’s ownership. This is a natural process in this business. We remain committed to finishing the 2016 NASL Campaign including a push to qualify for our third successive postseason berth and will compete in the 2017 NASLseason.
We acknowledge we have made some mistakes in our expectations and business plan. We need the help of our local Broward County Community who embrace this club to get through this difficult time. We have had to look for help and naturally went to the NASL – our league which is an association of owners who face similar challenges and understand our situation. We’ve gone to NASL for help and they have embraced us. This will allow us to work toward recycling our ownership with the 2017 NASL season in mind.
There is a lot of speculation as to the selling, splitting, shutting down of the clubs assets or ownership. None of this been stated by Paulo Cesso, the Strikers principal owner. He remains committed to this club, its brand and community.
Who would have imagined when this season began, that league rookie Miami FC would be in second place in mid-September? That's exactly where the nascent NASL team finds itself after Wednesday night's 1-0 win over the Carolina RailHawks.
A crowd of nearly 7,000 -- impressive for a mid-week match -- showed up at FIU Stadium to see the surging Miami FC, which is on a six-game unbeaten streak.
Dario Cvitanich, last week's league Player of the Week, came off the bench in the 76th minute and scored the winning goal a minute later.
“I am very happy with the result but there is still work to be done,” said Head Coach Alessandro Nesta. “We need energy and all of our guys fit, so now our focus is to recover.”
Miami had other scoring chances. Vincenzo Rennella took a shot in the sixth minute. Ariel Martinez had another seven minutes later. They missed a free kick in the 23rd minute. Rennella had another chance in the second half. Rhett Bernstein got a good look at the goal, but it went wide. And Blake Smith nearly scored in the 90th minute. Aaron Dennis also was a threat all night.
Miami FC hits the road to play at Indy Eleven on Saturday. A watch party will be held at Fritz and Franz in Coral Gables. The next home game is Sept. 23 against Puerto Rico.
Landon Donovan returned to the L.A. Galaxy on Sunday after a 21-month retirement, and he was the first to admit that the time off showed. He entered to game in the 83rd minute, with the Galaxy up 4-1 over Orlando City.
"I'm so far away," Donovan said after 4-2 win. "I came into a game where both teams were exhausted, and I was the slowest player on the field.
"I need to get myself ready to compete in a real way. Bruce (Arena) and the coaching staff need to know that when they put me in, it can mean something. So tonight worked out well, but I need to be able to contribute.
"I think I had much more impact today in the locker room and helping out a few guys at halftime than I did on the field. If that's the way I contribute, that's great."
Golazo of the Weekend: Laurent Koscielny's overhead kick in Arsenal's 2-1 victory over Southampton. Watch it here:
In case you missed the news yesterday, Landon Donovan is back! He ended his 21-month retirement and signed with the L.A. Galaxy, who are desperate for some help heading into the final stretch of the season. Donovan will make his return Sunday in a home game against Orlando City. He'll be wearing No. 26 in honor of the birthdate of his infant son Talon, who was born Jan. 26, 2016.
“I’ve spent a lot of time speaking with my family and close friends over the past several days,” Donovan wrote on Facebook,“and we all agreed that this would be a wonderful opportunity and a win-win situation for everyone.”
Coach/General Manager Bruce Arena seems delighted with the idea.
“Landon had a desire to play again, so in this case, if you’re going to gamble a little bit, this is a pretty good guy to gamble with,” Arena told reporters.
Hard to argue. Check out this video of Donovan highlights...
The Galaxy have six regular season games left. The Los Angeles Times reported that Donovan will make roughly $152,500.
South Florida soccer fans can get a taste of the Olympic men's soccer tournament without traveling to Rio de Janeiro. The Olympic teams from Argentina and Colombia are scheduled to play a friendly at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton on July 21 at 7 p.m.
Argentina's team is training in Boca all month, and will also face the Haitian national team on July 24 at 5 p.m. at FAU.
Tickets range from $30-$100. Available through Ticketmaster and at 1-866-FAU-OWLS
There's been much debate in recent years whether the Best Soccer Player in the World is Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. Here's another question up for discussion, after seeing his face over and over during the Euro 2016 final: Has Cristiano Ronaldo undergone plastic surgery? He certainly looks different than he did as a kid at Manchester United. Clearly, braces helped his crooked teeth. But has he had more done? Nose job? Botox? Or has his face just evolved naturally as he matured? Examine the photos and vote in the poll below....
The Rio Olympics are just over three weeks away, and U.S. women's soccer coach Jill Ellis on Tuesday named her 18-player roster. The Americans play New Zealand, France and Colombia in group play.
The U.S. will open Group G play on Aug. 3 - two days before the Olympic Opening Ceremony - against New Zealand (7 p.m. local / 6 p.m. ET) at Mineirão Stadium in Belo Horizonte. The USA will stay in Belo Horizonte - which is 270 miles north of Rio de Janeiro - to face France at Mineirão Stadium on Aug. 6 (5 p.m. local / 4 p.m. ET) and finish group play against Colombia on Aug. 9 (6 p.m. local / 6 p.m. ET) at the Amazônia Stadium in Manaus, the same arena in which the U.S. Men's National Team tied Portugal 2-2 during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and the furthest soccer venue from Rio (more than 1,700 miles).
2016 U.S. Olympic Women's Soccer Team Roster by Position GOALKEEPERS (2): Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC) DEFENDERS (6): Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City) MIDFIELDERS (6): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC) FORWARDS (4): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado)
Univision just released its ratings for recent Copa America matches, and one thing is for sure: Miami was watching!!
The Copa final between Argentina and Chile Sunday night was the No. 1 broadcast program of the day among viewers in Miami, Los Angeles, New York City, and Houston. That match had higher viewership than the ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX stations combined during the 8-11 p.m time slot among viewers in Miami and Los Angeles.
The Copa third-place game between the USA and Colombia Saturday night was the No. 1 watched program of the day among viewers in Miami and Los Angeles. It also had higher viewership than the ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX stations combined during the 8-22 time slot among viewers in Miami.
The final drew 6.8 million viewers, making it the most-viewed soccer match on Univision since the 2014 World Cup Final, and outdrew all NHL matches, including playoffs, as well as all MLB matches across all networks thus far in the 2016 season.
Sitting here on a Monday afternoon, wondering: Is Iceland REALLY beating England 2-1 in a Euro 2016 knockout game? Whaaaaaat? Iceland? A nation of 330,000 (would rank 58th among US Cities) is beating a nation of 51 million? WOW! Some clever Iceland fans were shown carrying a banner that read: "Brexit, Volume 2!"
Speaking of exits....
Was I hearing things, or did Lionel Messi say late last night that he is retiring from the Argentine national team? Apparently, that is what he was contemplating as he sat all alone on the bench, staring ahead, after Chile's dramatic penalty shootout win in the Copa America Centenario final. Messi, who rarely misses in penalty kick shootouts, missed Argentina's first attempt against Chile, and hid his face inside his world-famous No. 10 jersey. Three major finals in a row -- 2014 World Cup, 2015 Copa America, 2016 Copa America Centenario -- and no trophy for La Albiceleste.
The five-time FIFA World Player of the Year, 29, has won eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues with Spanish club Barcelona. But his only major title in an Argentina shirt is Olympic gold at the 2008 Games.
This is what he told reporters after the loss to Chile:
"For me, the national team is over. I've done all I can. It hurts not to be a champion.
"It's been four finals, I tried.
"It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn't get it, so I think it's over.
"I think this is best for everyone. First of all for me, then for everyone.
"I think there's a lot of people who want this, who obviously are not satisfied, as we are not satisfied reaching a final and not winning it.
"It's very hard, but the decision is taken. Now I will not try more and there will be no going back."
Do you think he's serious? You think he's played his last game in an Argentina shirt? VOTE HERE...
Time will tell if it was just emotions talking, or if he'll follow through.
If he does, it would be a crying shame. Despite criticism from dissatisfied Argentine fans, Messi is, quite simply, the best player in the world right now. He scored five goals in this Copa America Centenario, including a brilliant free kick in the 4-0 semifinal win over the United States. That goal was No. 55 for him, giving him the all-time record over Gabriel Batistuta.
The debate about Who is Argentina's Best Player of All Time will continue. Many say Diego Maradona because he was able to win a World Cup. Messi, despite all his individual and club accolades, has not been able to bring home trophies for his country. And, for that, he clearly feels awful. He feels far worse than any of the fans who have been vilifying him, that's for sure.
Maybe his threat of retirement will make Argentine fans appreciate him more. Some newspaper covers indicated as much Monday:
Meanwhile, other players said they hope he reconsiders.
Argentina and Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero said: "I think he spoke while he was heated, because a beautiful opportunity escaped us," said Romero. "I can't imagine a national team without Messi."
Sergio Aguero hinted others may follow Messi's lead.
"There are several players who are evaluating not continuing with the national team. It is the worst defeat ever, worse than the two other finals. So the thinking is it might be time to make room for other players."
Argentine newspaper La Nacion wrote that Aguero, Javier Mascherano and Gonzalo Higuaín also may retire.
If anybody should be criticized for Argentina's losses in recent big games, it should be Higuaín, who blew a 1v1 chance against Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo Sunday night, and also missed a chance against Germany at the 2014 World Cup final and a penalty kick against Chile last summer.
But for now, all the talk is about Messi and his possible "Mexit"