The Fort Lauderdale Strikers looked like one of the teams to watch during the early weeks of the NASL season, but since getting out to a relatively fast start, have struggled to get results on the pitch. The club is now winless in their last seven matches, having draw two and lost five in that span.
On Sunday, those struggles caused a major shakeup to the coaching staff, as Soccer Director Andre Chaves, Head Coach Marcelo Neveleff, and Assistant Coach Ricardo Lopes have all been relieved of their duties. The club will immediately begin looking for replacements, but in the interim, center back Ivan Guerrero will take over as a player/coach for the finale against Minnesota United FC.
Neveleff had the following to say about the situation:
"I feel the team needs a new direction. We built a strong squad that gave its best during every practice and game. Sometimes, that is still not enough. I thank the players, my coaching staff, Claudio -- the most loyal equipment manager -- Ronaldo, Andre Chaves, Amaury Nunes, Strikers management, and the fans for a great five months."
Chavas also had a brief statement, accepting that the changes were necessary:
"I recognize that I did not reach the necessary goals so that we would win on the field. I thank the owners, employees and players for trusting me. I wish success and the best of luck to the club, the players, and to the friends I have made."
Personally, I'm not so sure that hitting the reset button after just nine matches was a great idea, especially given the amount of turnover that particular club had this winter. It's hard to be too critical of that ownership group based on their involvement thus far, though, so if they felt that a change was necessary based on what they were seeing every day, I suppose their is little point in waiting to make that change.
I do hope they didn't just look at their 'record' when making their decision, which was cited inaccurately in the press release:
Fort Lauderdale is currently 2-2-5, having lost this past weekend to Indy Eleven FC. At no point this season did they have a 2-1-5 record. Whoops.