The new Brazilian owners of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers were welcomed warmly to the NASL on Friday.
Traffic Sports, which had owned the Strikers for nine years, announced at a news conference that a group of three Brazilian investors — Paulo Cesso, Ricardo Geromel and Rafael Bertani — purchased the team for an undisclosed amount.
“We’re convinced that the new owners are the destined torchbearers to elevate the team to ever-increasing heights,” said Aaron Davidson, president of Traffic and chairman of the NASL Board of Governors. “They are well-funded, successful entrepreneurs who are passionate about soccer and education and are enchanted by South Florida and the rich history of the Strikers.”
The new owners have plans to upgrade the Lockhart Stadium fan experience and piggy-back off the team’s glory days of the 1970s and ’80s.
Cesso said: “Who is the goalkeeper that made the best save of all World Cups? Gordon Banks. Who do Germans say is their own Pelé? Gerd Muller. Who did Pelé himself say was the best player in the world? George Best. These legends have all played for the Strikers. Other stars that played for our team were Elias Figueroa, Nene Cubillas, Marinho Chagas and Ray Hudson. These players made us dream, and we are proud and ready to announce that we will invest to turn the Strikers back into a household name.”