Fort Lauderdale has decided to steal the NASL limelight during this holiday season with its third round of roster moves since Christmas Eve. The NASL club is certainly in full gear as it prepares for its matches in the 2016 Florida Cup. The Strikers first game is against FC Schalke 04 on January 10, 2016, now less than two week away. For this round of additions, Fort Lauderdale is adding four players with professional experience across the North America soccer landscape – Gale Agbossoumonde, Maicon Santos, Nana Attakora, and Giuseppe Gentile.
Strikers Head Coach and General Manager Caio Zanardi stated about the latest additions that "[a]ll four players bring a high level of experience and professionalism to the locker room,… We are excited by the prospect of a young player like Giuseppe and the proven goalscoring record of Maicon Santos. At the back, Gale and Nana are two physically strong defenders with international experience at matches at the highest level."
Here’s a brief overview of each player –
- Agbossoumode, 24, has played for US U-20 and senior teams. He has played with Miami FC (now known as the Strikers), Carolina RailHawks, Toronto FC, Colorado Rapids, in addition to spending time with a number of European clubs; most recently, he played with the Tampa Bay Rowdies in 2015;
- Santos, 31, is a well-traveled veteran having played in his homeland of Brazil, as well as Tunisia, Libya, Israel, Mexico, Canada, and the US. He was the first non-Canadian to be named captain of Toronto FC in 2011, and most recently spent 2015 with the Tampa Bay Rowdies;
- Attakora, 26, is a member of the Canadian national team, he also played for Canada’s U-16, U-17, U-19, U-20, and U-23 squads – twice being U-20 Canadian player of the Year. He has played for Toronto FC, San Jose Earthquakes, FC Haka (Finland), DC United, and most recently spent 2015 with the San Antonio Scorpions;
- Gentile, 23, began his professional career by relinquishing his college ability to sign with the MLS’ Chicago Fire. He went on to play with the Charlotte Eagles (formerly of USL Pro), Orland City (in USL Pro), and spent in 2014 with the NASL Champion San Antonio Scorpions. In 2015 he signed with Swiss side FC Chiasso, the club loaned him back to the Scorpions for the Fall 2015 Season. He was born in Miami, FL., grew up in Cazis, Switzerland as a child, and attended high school and college in Charlotte, NC.
From the club’s press release – "All four players are US citizens or green card holders, and will not count against the seven man foreign player limit." So far, Coach Zanardi has been able to put together an impressive group of signees without filling the coveted seven foreign player allotment. Given the quality of his signings so far, and the potential to bring in players to fill out the international spots still available to the club, it will be interesting to see how the team performs against FC Schalke 04, it will be an early test for the team and its first year coach.