Today marks the start of preparations for the 2013 NASL Spring Championship season. With the home opener against FC Edmonton on April 6 just weeks away, Strikers training camp kicks off from historic Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.
Strikers fans will notice several familiar faces around camp, with Andy Herron, Darnell King, Hosman Ramos and Mark Anderson all returning for a second season with the club. Long-time goalkeeper Matt Glaeser joins fan-favorites Pecka, Scott Gordon and Walter Restrepo for their third seasons in red and gold.
“It’s always important, when you start preseason, to have a core group of players,” said head coach Daryl Shore. “For us to be able to bring back eight or nine key players is exciting.”
Joining the returning players are high-profile signings David Foley, last of Puerto Rico Islanders, and former Honduran national team veteran Ivan Guerrero.
“To add players like David Foley and Ivan Guerrero to the core group of guys we’re bringing back is a very good starting point for us,” said Shore.
Local talents Manny Gonzalez and Gonzalo De Mujica were also signed by the Strikers this offseason. Last year, Gonzalez spent the entirety of the season training with the team before signing his first professional contract in January 2013. De Mujica comes to the Strikers from Orlando City U-23.
Rounding out the numbers in camp are trialists hoping to make the squad. Five players from the Strikers’ open tryouts have been invited to preseason camp.
“We have 20 or so trialists trying to make the roster when we have maybe only three or four roster spots open,” said Shore. “I think that says a lot for our organization that they have chosen our team over other NASL or USL Pro teams.”
Players from last season’s squad who will not be returning to the club include former vice-captain and assistant coach Abe Thompson, who retired following the conclusion of the 2012 season and defender Lance Laing who signed with FC Edmonton. The Strikers would like to thank them for their service to the club, and wish them all the best in the future.