Fort Lauderdale Strikers Need the Ray Hudson Effect

Anyone who visited Lockhart Stadium on Saturday for the debut of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers (2011 version) will have been impressed by what they saw. Huge lines of hundreds of people queuing up to buy tickets. A wonderful atmosphere around the ground with a record 6,402 in attendance. Tons of soccer fans wearing red and yellow bumblebee shirts. Soccer is finally back in South Florida.

However, one thing was missing and that was the product on the field. While the Strikers weren’t terrible, they were prevented from scoring more goals in the eventual 2-1 loss to Edmonton after goalkeeper Rein Baart made several crucial saves. Having said that, the Strikers team felt like they lacked the passion and creativity needed to satisfy the large attendance.

That leads me to Fort Lauderdale Strikers coach Daryl Shore. The former Chicago Fire assistant coach joined Miami FC in July. Since then, Miami FC (now Fort Lauderdale Strikers) have played 14 league games. Shore’s winning percentage is a paltry 35%. I realize that the Strikers have only played one game this season but unless the team performance changes this Friday, the owners of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers will jeopardize all of the hard work they’ve done to bring people to Lockhart if the ultimate product is inadequate.

Put Daryl Shore in a police line-up and nine out of 10 Strikers fans wouldn’t be able to recognize him. What the Strikers need is someone who is a personality and a passionate soccer coach who can get the most out of his team. What the Fort Lauderdale Strikers need is Ray Hudson, a Strikers legend who still lives in South Florida. If Traffic Sports wants to continue bringing in large crowds and putting on entertaining (and winning) soccer, Ray Hudson is the man to do it.

Meanwhile, the next home game for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers is this Friday against NSC Minnesota Stars at 8:30pm.

24 thoughts on “Fort Lauderdale Strikers Need the Ray Hudson Effect”

    1. Why does it have to be MLS for soccer to return to South Florida? I’d love a MLS team, but we need to support our local teams.

      The Gaffer

    2. Jeff – Wrong.
      Gaffer – Right.

      The memories of the Sounders winning (non-MLS) championships are some of the best out there.

      1. I go to Atlanta to watch Silverback games, because there is no MLS. The idea of no MLS = no soccer is why America’s second division is so disorganized and weak.

        The Sounders, Timber, Whitecaps, and eventually Impact are all MLS now, and hopefully the Silverbacks, Strikers, or Orlando City can make the jump to MLS, but it to say no MLS=no soccer is no different than the Eurosnobbery that gets lambasted on these boards.

  1. Wow that’s a great start for attendance. Seattle’s USL team only averaged about 2k/game so if they deserved to make the jump from USL, Ft. Lauterdale could also make the statement they deserve MLS too.

    1. Well that is not even close to being true. When at QWest the Sounders had similar numbers. I was there, thank God Jeff was not.

      The last year they were at Starfire which only holds about 3k.

      Those are very good numbers. Over/under for when MLS hits 30 teams ? I say 10 years

      1. I’m not an expert but my understanding is the big crowd at qwest was only for a rivalry match with portland? And starfire’s capacity was 4500? They averaged 3k not 2k so I was mistaken earlier. But still, that’s nothing compared to Seattle’s MLS attendance. My overall point is it doesn’t take massive USL turnout to prove you could be a good MLS city. Toronto’s USL team… didn’t it average less than 1k attendance before TFC? That’s all I’m saying.

  2. That’s a decent attendance, but is nothing compared to Orlando City. The Lions had nearly 8,000 fans at their match last weekend. And this is despite the fact that (unlike south Florida) Orlando hasn’t had decades to build up their soccer community. When MLS returns to the southeast, Orlando is the place to go!

    1. I absolutely agree. Especially if they can get Disney as a corporate sponsor like the Orlando Magic. One sports towns (San Antonio, Orlando) could be the future of MLS.

  3. I’d love to see Ray Hudson coaching the Strikers, but unless they move up to MLS I doubt he’d leave his post at GolTV.

    The crowd on Saturday night was awesome. It was a beautiful thing to see. It was utterly stupid for MLS to ignore the preexisting history and tradition in Florida back in 1996 and 1998 when the Mutiny and Fusion were founded. Strikers and Rowdies mean something in Florida, and anything else just won’t cut it.

    Orlando had an impressive crowd too, but it was their first local pro soccer game EVER. Let’s see how they hold up over the whole season. They did well in Austin too, but the owners pulled a Baltimore Colts and snuck out of town for no good reason, so I wouldn’t trust in the Orlando organization just yet.

    1. I think some of the supporters of the Orlando Lions team that used to play in the ASL (or was it the APSL) in the late 80’s/early 90’s may disagree with you regarding this past weekend being the first local pro soccer game ever. It’s been a while, most definitely, though.

      The Gaffer

        1. Considering the team is called Orlando City and neither Rollins College or UCF is in the city of Orlando, I suppose they had little choice.

    2. The owners had multiple reasons. Most notably, they couldn’t find a decent stadium that would allow alcohol sales, denying them a significant revenue stream. (That’s why they’re playing in the oversized, dirty Citrus Bowl, rather then Rollins College or UCF)

  4. That first comment says it all about the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area. Soccer snobs and sports snobs. I think the Fort Lauderdale Strikers name is the only one that could succeed down here in the area. As a life long Miamian, I think the Ft Laud. Strikers brings back great memories and will have a chance. However, those Strikers teams had some of the best players in the world and real personality characters. I was there on Saturday and while it was great to see the bumblebee tops back, I do not think the players wearing the Strikers unis were fitting of the legacy of the team.

    I’ll be back for the next game Friday but am not going to keep going indefinitely. I think Ray Hudson in some role, be it as coach, TV announcer or something else is a prerequisite for long term success.

    1. IF MLS hasn’t learn by now that keeping traditions alive is the way to go, they should after tonight, huh ?

      W_N you are free to do what you want and it is easy for a Sounder’s fan to tell you what to do, as it was different when the Sounders were winning A-League and USL championships ( quality was probably closer )

      ….BUT, support for the team and soccer in general will be what gets you the “$50mm in a brown paper bag” that Robert is alluding too.

      It was very easy for minority owner and GM Hanauer to get investors for the Sounders because Seattle was already drawing for their Sounder’s games and for other games.

  5. Daryl is a good coach, lot of experience working at Chicago Fire and other places and it always takes time for a new bunch of players to gel.

    Give the guy a chance!

    Although Ray Hudson is a hugely popular figure do you really think there are thousands of fans holding back from attending because Ray isn’t the coach?

    Daryl will get it right on the pitch, Traffic should focus more on reducing the beer prices!

  6. I agree with the previous poster, give Shore a chance. He turned the team around last year and they were playing much better at the end of the season then at the start. To fire the coach after one game is a pretty knee jerk reaction. And if your dependent on the personality of your coach to sell tickets your in trouble. You need good front office and hard work to sell groups and season tickets.

  7. Even with a known coach and players, my prediction is that the Strikers will not make it to next year, unless the owners have very deep pockets, don’t mind losing huge sums of money, and/or make some major inexpensive changes in their marketing efforts.

    With an MBA in Management and Marketing, two coaching certifications, an ACT! By Sage consulting certification, 40+ years of business experience, of which the past 20+ years were working as business coach and consultant with proven marketing expertise, I know what has to be done to help ensure the Striker’s short- and long-term successes. Unfortunately I have basically been shunned in my efforts to support the team and help them survive.

    I went to their first game last weekend and saw 6000+ fans. This is roughly 25% what the Fusion had on their opening day.

    Having seen firsthand the demise of the Fusion (due primarily because of the lack of sound marketing efforts) I would hate to see the same thing happen to the Strikers. I am willing to share my marketing acumen with the team’s owner(s) and/or investors if they would be willing to listen.

  8. Egos should be shelved, and you should be consulted!! i’m a
    youth-soccer pioneer coach from the mid 60s and a sports marketing
    expert (Sporting News, Sporting Goods Dealer magazines) and
    founder/publisher of magazines for USA SWIMMING & USA DIVING.
    (as well as a pilot publication for mid-ohio youth soccer “STRIKER”
    ), — and the first soph-class president at St. Thomas Aquinus HS .

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