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Fort Lauderdale Strikers sold to Brazilian trio

JamesMarcelinFortLauderdaleStrikers1 (FortLauderdaleStrikers)


The Fort Lauderdale Strikers are undergoing an ownership change, but the new owners plan to keep the club in the North American Soccer League.

On Friday morning, the Strikers will announce that the club has sold from Traffic Sports to three Brazilian businessmen – Paulo Cesso, Rafael Bertani, and Ricardo Geromel – according to the Miami Herald. (UPDATE: The club confirmed the news on Friday morning in a press conference.)

Cesso is an education and technology entrepreneur, Bertani had a large education organization in China that sold for more than $700 million, and Geromel is currently a writer for Forbes after working in commodities. Geromel is also a former teammate of U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, when the pair were at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

“We see owning the Strikers as a great opportunity,” Geromel told the Miami Herald. “Soccer in the U.S. is already really, really big. Investing in soccer here makes great sense.”

The report states that Geromel, based in Fort Lauderdale, will oversee the day-to-day operations of the club while Cesso and Bertani manage from afar. Managing director Tim Robbie and president Tom Mulroy will remain with the club through the transition, the report adds.

While a host of cities with NASL or USL Pro teams such as Sacramento, San Antonio, and Minneapolis are all angling for a piece of the MLS pie, Geromel says he would rather keep the Strikers in NASL, where they’re more affordable to the local fans.

“We want to turn the Strikers back into a household name,” Geromel said. “We want to create an affordable experience for the fans, and we hope the community will embrace us. This is why we chose NASL instead of investing in an MLS team. An MLS franchise would cost us $100 million, and we felt it was better for us to invest our money in the team itself, be able to sell tickets for $20 and build on the tradition the Strikers already have.”


What do you think of this report? Glad that the Strikers are remaining in NASL? Do you think they can compete with a Beckham-owned MLS club in the general area?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. this is a good thing. we need NASL to be strong and this seems like a step in the right direction. while MLS needs to have their big ownership groups come in, we also need these types of owners to come in and strengthen NASL. USL Pro as well. good stuff.

  2. FtL will support the Strikers. Miami and some of FtL will support Miami. It can work if properly marketed- (the biggest sin thus far preventing soccer from ruling Miami. The owners of attempt in Miami so far have been “if we build it they will come” attitudes.

    In any case this struck me as absurd: “Cesso is an education and technology entrepreneur..” When we have education entrepreneurs, already that’s a problem. when they have enough money to invest in professional sports teams it’s speaks to an even bigger problem….

  3. Regardless of how one feels about their long-term plans, it is undeniably a good thing that Traffic Sports’ impact on the NASL is further limited and that the Strikers have owners with $ and willing to spend it.

  4. Once MLS finishes adding teams one suggestion I would make is to have one teams that can be promoted into MLS each year. Once in MLS that team could get relegated if it finishes in the bottom three however, would stay up otherwise. No MLS team could get relegated. This would protect the MLS owners that invested heavily and clearly don’t want relegation. It would also help build up the lower divisions in USA. Give owners a bigger reason to invest with MLS being the ultimate prize.

      • What Yevgeniy is questioning is that the number of teams in 1st division could potentially continue to grow without anyone getting relegated…if 1 team gets promoted each year for 10 years and those tems never finish in the bottom 3…

        Interesting idea though…to protect original MLS teams and have a pool of new teams subject to pro/rel.

      • No, only one team at at time. If the NASL team doesn’t get relegated then no one gets promoted until they do. Similar to the Mexican league allowing only one team to be relegated, but obviously the difference is MLS teams would be protected from relegation.

      • Do they have to play by MLS salary rules one there? Presumably if not they’d have the incentive to outspend and stay up, basically becoming a permanent fixture and ruining the concept.

    • I think the better solution is to just have real pro/rel like most other countries instead of the gimmick you propose. Not this second. When it makes sense, i.e. when there are more cities that want and can support a pro soccer team than can realistically be accommodated in one league.

      • I am practical. I could suggest ideas that have zero percent chance of happening like you just did. For real promotion relegation to happen it would take a majority vote fromt the MLS owners. I can’t see any MLS owner wanting to risk relegation.

  5. Will Miami support one team, much less two?

    Could be taken as an interesting bet against Beckham succeeding. If a MLS team gets established in Miami it won’t be worth much to own the minor league team even if the purchase cost for the team and ticket cost to the fan are cheaper right now.

    • LoL… How can you compare NASL with MLS?!?!
      Don’t you get it? NASL doesn’t care what MLS Says!
      Two complete different systems!!
      MLS might make money! But NASL is winning hearts!!

      • FLS averaged 2882 fans this season (worst in NASL), the Blues used to be worse, and the MLS Fusion were about 10K. They could barely support one team. They need Beckham’s concept to fail to have a fighting chance on their own. If there is a MLS team, who is going to watch??

        A similar exercise in the dynamic will occur next year when there are NYC and NJ teams in MLS and Cosmos tries to stay relevant.

      • Very classy way of telling Dude that he needs to get a grip on reality…

        “Winning hearts!”

        I enjoy the NASL and follow it closely but c’mon my man–The Virginia Calvary debacle would have never happened in MLS. Let’s see how OKC plays out…

    • Completely agree…I think the Strikers will fold once MLS Miami launches. I’d like to hear from some of the Southern Legion folks, because I think a lot of them support(ed) the Strikers. Hard to rep 2 local teams as each of us has a finite amount of time and money. I’m going to support the MLS team personally.

      The quality of players and facilities between the Strikers and MLS Miami will be night & day.

      Love to see both teams succeed and thrive, but I don’t think it’s possible.

      • The interesting thing is, though, these guys just probably paid millions for the team, and will have an incentive to stay open against rationality — assuming the MLS team ever launches. Perhaps they could move FLS but it’s just an odd choice of a team to buy.

      • Definitely interesting. Even if FLS renovate Lockhart and buy some nice players, they’re still in NASL with really no prospects of promotion. Sharing a fan base with an MLS team who you know is going to spend big bucks on a SSS, players with big names and an extensive academy system. These three new owners may be flushing money down the toilet.

      • Who?
        Keep dreaming guys… Ok let Becks United be created… I don’t mind… But why do u guys keep on saying FLS “folds?” I would like to see the Strikers grow big!! I would like to see all the teams become one league! ( Not MLS!)… And become a Miami Super Clasico!!
        Think positive kids!!

      • OK…on a positive note, I do hope that the south FL market supports FLS and MLS Miami so both can thrive and become a rivalry.

      • As a former Fusion fan I can tell you one thing, no one in Miami wants to make the 45min-1hr drive up to Lockhart. That stadium reeks of minor league. If the strikers are going to make it, they need to build a fan base in Ft. Lauderdale and the areas north of there. Invest in youth and build a close connection to the community quickly or MLS will bury them in a few years.

  6. OMG!! Way to go Strikers!!!
    Hope the Club gets BIG!!
    Very inspirational comments!! “Invest the money on the CLUB!!!”
    I already can see a lot of Brazilian influence on the team!!!
    Love it!!


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