[NASL]Longtime soccer promoter Tom Mulroy has been named the president of the NASL Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, replacing Tim Robbie, who has taken on the position of managing director of team personnel and stadium development as the club seeks to find a permanent home.
Mulroy, who began his pro career in the old NASL for the Miami Toros in 1976 and set a juggling world record on the Empire Stadium platform in 1987, has worked for the Strikers' owner, Traffic Soccer USA, since 2009 when he was hired to lead its grassroots efforts. This included Traffic assuming joint ownership of Copa Latina and Fiesta Cup, two of the leading Hispanic soccer tournaments in the country, which Mulroy founded more than 20 years ago.
“It’s an honor to serve as the president of one of the most historic soccer franchises in America,” said Mulroy in a statement. “It’s very exciting to become president of the club with the growth of the NASL and to have the opportunity to work side by side with Tim Robbie to fulfill this commitment of establishing a permanent home stadium for the Strikers. I am thrilled to be part of it all.”
Robbie’s father, Joe Robbie, owned the Miami Dolphins and built the current home of the Dolphins, Sun Life Stadium. Tim Robbie served as Dolphins president in 1990-94. His mother had owned the original Ft. Lauderdale Strikers.
Robbie said the top priority is to work with the city of Fort Lauderdale to renovate Lockhart Stadium as part of the overall development of the area.
"However," he added, "we are prepared to explore any and all options for a new soccer facility in the South Florida area. Given the numerous meetings and conversations I have had on the matter, I am optimistic our efforts to find a worthy, long-term home for the Strikers will be successful.”
Interest in pro soccer in Florida is picking again.
Orlando City won the 2011 USL PRO championship, the 2012 USL PRO regular-season title and led the league in attendance both seasons. It has been exploring what it will take to get an MLS team.
The Tampa Bay Rowdies won the 2012 NASL title, and the VSI Tampa Bay Flames, who will join USL PRO in 2013, recently announced it is seeking to build a soccer stadium with a retractable roof.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber recently said the league had a need to expand into the Southeast but it would all depend on a city's ownership group and stadium situation.