The Fort Lauderdale Strikers bolstered their roster for this season and the future with two announcements on Tuesday. The Strikers have reached an agreement with Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer to loan forward Paulo Araujo Jr. to Fort Lauderdale. The Strikers also agreed to a contract extension with midfielder Walter Restrepo for the 2013 season, with a team option for 2014. Both transactions are pending USSF approval.
"I think having Paulo here is an exciting situation for both us and Real Salt Lake,” said Strikers head coach Daryl Shore. “I know he’s looking forward to help our team get results and score goals. At the same time it’s a good situation for Real Salt Lake to have a player get some confidence back and get quality minutes for us.”
Paulo Junior played in 38 regular season games with the Strikers franchise from 2009-2010. He is fifth in franchise history in goals scored with 11 and third all-time in assists with seven. He also scored five goals in the 2010 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, tying him for the most goals in the tournament with Seattle’s Nate Jaqua.
He joined RSL on loan from Fort Lauderdale on Sept. 9, 2010. His loan deal was extended for the 2011 season, and upon completion RSL purchased his rights from the Strikers and Araujo Jr. signed three-year contract. Paulo Junior has three goals and five assists in 28 games played since he joined RSL in 2010. This season, he has scored a goal and an assist over 14 games, with eight starts, for the Western Conference side.
Restrepo’s deal comes in the midst of his best season with the Strikers. After appearing in 12 matches for the Strikers in 2011, scoring two goals and one assist, Restrepo has five goals and leads the NASL with six assists in 2012.
“Walter is an important part of our team and we’re pleased he’s going to be here long term,” said Shore. “He is a guy who really sets up a lot of plays for us and he’s also able to score some goals. We felt it was important to continue to add pieces to our team, not just for this year, but for the future of the Strikers.
Born in San Diego, Calif, to Colombian parents, Restrepo played professionally with several teams in Colombia before returning to the United States. Restrepo has played with Deportes Tolima, Boyacá Chicó and Express Rojo, appearing in both the Categoría Primera A and the Categoría Primera B between 2006 and 2010.
The Strikers next game is on the road against Minnesota Stars FC on Wednesday, July 18, at 8:30p.m. EDT. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org call (954)606-0400 for more information. Follow the Strikers on twitter @FTLStrikers and like us on Facebook to get the latest news and updates from South Florida's professional soccer team. All Strikers NASL matches are streamed live on www.strikers.com/live.
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