Foreclosed Strikers Set for Public Auction

Fort Lauderdale Strikers

By JAKE NUTTING

imagesOne of the most recognizable names in soccer in the United States will be available on the auction block next week.

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers, a storied member of both the original and modern North American Soccer League, will be auctioned to the highest bidder in an online public sale on Tuesday, June 20.

Up for sale in the auction are Fort Lauderdale’s copyrights, trademarks and any rights to the use of the name “Fort Lauderdale Strikers” or any variation. Available along with the Strikers branding are any remaining contracts held by the team’s Brazilian ownership group with one significant exception. Not included in the public sale is the group’s membership in the NASL, perhaps the most valuable piece of collateral the group has left.

StrikersFort Lauderdale’s collateral is up for grabs as part of a foreclosure sale stemming from the summary judgment Tampa Bay Rowdies owner Bill Edwards was awarded by the court last month in his lawsuit against Strikers ownership over loans the group failed to pay back.

Edwards was awarded a final judgment of $293,513 by the court. Should the proceeds of the foreclosure sale exceed that amount, others with IOUs from the Strikers could line up to get what is owed to them. Shortly after Edwards was awarded his final judgment in May, the NASL moved to protect its interests by filing a counterclaim against Strikers ownership, claiming the group was in breach of a loan deal when it failed to repay the $774,000 the league loaned the team to keep it afloat in the final months of last season. A hearing for the NASL’s crossclaim has been schedule for Sept. 25.

The Strikers’ former managing director Luis Cuccati said in a deposition given for the Edwards’ lawsuit that the team was also being sued by three vendors over debt from the 2016 season. Those seeking to file a claim to any excess money from next week’s foreclosure sale have 60 days after the sale to file a claim with the Pinellas County clerk.

These developments offer little clarity on what the future holds for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. The team is dormant this year, but some NASL officials said in interviews that they held out hope they would be able to secure new ownership to bring the Strikers back into the fold as it looks to add clubs and bolster its case for keeping Division II status. An NASL expansion group in Orange County, California was recently announced by the NASL and another announcement for a group in San Diego is believed to be imminent, but there’s been no visible progress in Fort Lauderdale.

The NASL declined to comment or to provide an update on the future of the Strikers in the NASL.