Letter from Coach Günter Kronsteiner to Fort Lauderdale Strikers fans
Editors Note: Former Fort Lauderdale Strikers Coach Günter Kronsteiner released this letter to fans via Facebook on Friday. This site does not formally relaunch until January 1st, but we have been asked to track developments related to the Fort Lauderdale and Tampa Bay staff transitions here before we launch our new look and extensive features as the new year begins.
This letter is being published without edits.
“In advance I would like to apologize for my English”
I am very sorry to have to announce that I will definitely not be returning to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers for the 2015 season. I thought since I truly enjoyed working for the Strikers organization and enjoyed the community and the soccer fans of South Florida so much. I felt it was important that I make clear what really happened and why I will not be returning to the club. No spins, no bullshit just the behind the scenes facts.
Before I get into the details I would like to thank a few key people that helped me along the way:
First of all I would like to thank the club supporters and all the true fans and soccer people in South Florida for your true love and support.. I would like to thank my long-term friend and former Striker president Tom Mulroy for everything he did in supporting me and our team. I would like to thank Traffic Sports, especially to Aaron Davidson who was a real president and always kept his word.
My thanks also goes to Tim Robbie for his support and help with all the team matters especially since we had so few resources your experience and personal touch was the glue that kept us together when things got crazy.
As far as my team I would like to thank each and everyone of them from the bottom of my heart. You worked your tails off through injuries, through hard times with the lowest budget in the league and the least resources of any team in the NASL. You are all winners. You were all willing to put your personal problems and feelings aside in order to achieve your goals as a team and as individuals. Many of you were paid less than minimum-wage not even enough to cover your gas money to training, in fact many of you have second jobs. I am proud of you all for what you have sacrificed and what you have accomplished. I truly want each one of you to have success going forward as footballers and even more so as people THANK YOU.
You all know how to contact me.
Here are the details:
As an observer on July 4, 2013 I first saw the Strikers play in Tampa. They lost 4-0 and ended the spring season in dead last place. I took over on July 2013, we began to turn the team around. By the end of the fall season 2013 we were in the middle of the pack, wins – losses, same budget.
Even if we were cut by 30% coming into the 2014 spring season our main goal was trying to be somehow competitive and try not to get embarrassed. With the lowest player budget and the least amount of resources in the league we made it into the final.
We were hoping new owners with vision and financial whereabouts would come and give us a competitive budget fort he coming season. The new Brazilian ownership has officially announced that they wanted to keep the organization together and they would keep Tom Mulroy and Gunter Kronsteiner. As the weeks went on the new ownership group said they did not “want to disturb the focus of the team” and they would wait until after the season to secure the coach and the players for 2015. This charade went on for weeks right up to and even mentioned at the championship NASL press conference where they again talked about waiting until after the season to secure the coach and his players. Even though very few of our players had options and most of our players would be let loose into the open free-market for free agents.
On Monday November 16 right before the final team talk and check out for our player physicals. Ricardo Geromel told me that the new Brazilian ownership group had hired a Brazilian sports manager and that he will arrive in Fort Lauderdale early December and it would be his job to oversee all the sporting business of the team including the relationship with me and my contract. I would have been obviously no longer in charge of my team.
In the team meeting I told the players that I could not tell them anything about next year or what their future with the club was at this point.
We said our goodbyes and I headed back to Europe
Few days ago I received a call from the new Brazilian ownership group. The bottom line is that they made me an offer that was not only less than third the amount of what I was receiving last year, but clearly this was below the lowest amount that any coach in the NASL was making last year. It was truly not an offer just absolutely an unprofessional and disrespectful way to try to spin reality. They just did not want me back and were not big enough people to say it. Obviously from the first day it was their plan to go .
As you all know I have been in soccer for more than 40 years and I have never been so badly treated and disrespected. Tha nk you everyone for your support. I love South Florida and the people but especially my team!
PS sorry about my English