Month: February 2019

Gordon Banks: Former Fort Lauderdale Strikers and England keeper dies at 81

Gordon Banks (left) passed away at 81.

One of soccer’s greatest goalkeepers, Gordon Banks, passed peacefully in his sleep last night at the age of 81. Banks was a World Cup winner with England in 1966 and part of the original NASL revolution in the 1970s. Banks was the goalkeeper for the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers in their infancy playing on the NASL roster alongside a whole load of greats including Gerd Müller, Teófilo Cubillas, Elías Figueroa and George Best. 

Fernando Clavijo, National Soccer Hall of Fame member and former Miami FC director dead at 63

Fernando Clavijo reviews the Haitian National Team before its game at the Miami Orange Bowl in 2004. Via Associated Press.

Fernando Clavijo, a Uruguayan-born defender who rose to prominence in the United States as a player, manager and director, passed away Friday after a nearly five-year battle with multiple myeloma.

Fernando Clavijo came to the United States in 1979 to join the New York Apollo of the American Soccer League. He would stay in the U.S., eventually gaining American citizenship in 1987. That decision led to the unlikely role he played in the 1994 FIFA World Cup, where a 38-year-old Clavijo would start three of four games for the host Americans.

Clavijo’s coaching career began as a player-coach in 1991, but he would spend most of the rest of his life on the sidelines. His first journey to South Florida came in 1998, when he led the Florida ThunderCats of the National Professional Soccer League, an indoor team based at what is now the BB&T Center in Broward County.

He would spend time leading two Major League Soccer clubs (New England Revolution 2000-2002, Colorado Rapids 2005-2008) and one national team (Haiti 2003-2005).

After his stint with Colorado, he took a job with Traffic Sports USA, serving as the Director of Soccer for the company and for Miami FC, its entry into the United Soccer League.

From there, Clavijo became FC Dallas’ Technical Director. He remained in that position until his death in Fort Lauderdale on Friday.

The Miami FC in 2018, Part 3: You’ll Never Beat Miami

Fans of The Miami FC react to a game. Photo by Lee Ifans.

Looking at the two Miami teams you saw a real contrast. Miami United had come out of the gate well and had a great run in the cup which ended with a match up against an MLS side. The Miami FC 2 had labored early on but had grown as the season progressed. United’s season was over in the Sunshine Conference playoff semi. Dispatched comfortably by Armada by a 4-1 scoreline. It was to be the final many people expected at the start of the season in the Sunshine Conference. FC vs Armada.

Fort Lauderdale City Commission votes unanimously to accept proposals for Lockhart Stadium renovation

The City of Fort Lauderdale Commission voted Tuesday to begin accepting proposals for the renovation of Lockhart Stadium. Photo via City of Fort Lauderdale.

The Fort Lauderdale City Commission voted unanimously Tuesday evening to begin accepting proposals for the renovation of Lockhart Stadium and Fort Lauderdale Stadium. These proposals will include Inter Miami CF’s plan for its youth academy and USL team, as well as an independent USL bid revealed on Monday.

The resolution will start a 21-day window in which proposals could be submitted to the city. It is unknown whether other proposals will be submitted.

Per city rules, the 21-day window will start once the request for proposals is published in the South Florida Sun Sentinel and the Florida Administrative Register.

To watch video of the commission meeting, click above.

Rival bid for Lockhart site a new obstacle for Beckham’s MLS and USL dreams

Fort Lauderdale's Lockhart Stadium, as pictured in March 2018. Photo by Matthew Bunch.

Nothing in Miami is ever easy. And getting their way in Fort Lauderdale just got even harder for Miami Beckham United.

On Monday, South Florida Sun-Sentinel reporter Brittany Wallman revealed on twitter that a second party is competing for the Lockhart Stadium site in Fort Lauderdale. The site is the same one Inter Miami intend to use as the base for their academy and training facility.

According to details reported by Wallman, a company named FXE Futbol LLC is claiming to have signed a letter of intent with USL for a franchise in the second tier of U.S. soccer (USL Championship) if they are able to acquire the Lockhart site, which is currently unused. The owner of FXE Futbol is reported to be John P. Reynal, CEO of OnSide Entertainment, a Miami-based sports event production company with a recent history of bringing well-known international and club sides to face off in Florida.

OnSide Entertainment’s website boasts about having “won a bid alongside Premier Parks to operate a 20,000 seat stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.” Premier Parks intended to operate a water park at the site but that project was scuttled last year after the potential operator determined it could not afford the renovations required.

Despite their partner’s exit, it seems OnSide has kept up its interest in Lockhart, insisting that it has an agreement with USL and is moving forward on a bid for use of the site.

All of these developments come just over a week after Inter Miami announced sweeping proposal for the City of Fort Lauderdale that included a total renovation of the site, including a running track, playground, and fields for public use. Under Inter’s plan, the site would host technical staff and training facilities for both the MLS side and their USL affiliate.

Wallman also reported on Tuesday that Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said “there may be room for both soccer proposals” at the site. However, it is unlikely that USL will allow competing franchises in an MLS market.

Reynal, the OnSide CEO, has previously been supportive of Major League Soccer’s efforts in South Florida. In a January 2017 interview with Negocios Magazine, he said MLS would “add a lot” to Miami.

“It would be excellent if it happens, I hope it happens.”

For more on Inter Miami’s plans for Lockhart, see our previous reporting here.

This is a developing story and will be updated throughout the day.