Fort Lauderdale Strikers to return

MIAMI - The Fort Lauderdale Strikers, who once counted football greats George Best and Gerd Muller among their players, will return to professional action this season in the second tier North American Soccer League.

Miami FC, who have featured in the second division for the past five seasons but played in neighbouring Fort Lauderdale last year, will switch to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers name at a ceremony on Thursday, a club source said.

The new Fort Lauderdale Strikers will play at the same Lockhart Stadium that was home to the original NASL team in the 1970s and 1980s - an era when the club featured Peruvian Teofilo Cubillas and England's 1966 World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks.

The switch to the Strikers name coincides with the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of Fort Lauderdale as a city.

The move is also the latest rebirth of a team from the old NASL - the Seattle Sounders will be joined in the top tier Major League Soccer this year by the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps - both former NASL franchises.

The most famous NASL name of all - Pele's New York Cosmos - has recently been refounded and appointed former Manchester United and France forward Eric Cantona as director of football although they do not yet have a team in a league.

The Strikers are owned by Brazilian-backed company Traffic Sports USA.