Fort Lauderdale CF announced today that it has appointed Darren Powell as head coach, replacing First Team assistant coach Jason Kreis. Powell, who served as an assistant coach for Fort Lauderdale CF in 2020, has also held the role of Inter Miami CF Director of Player Development since 2020.
The team will open its 2021 USL League One season under Powell on Saturday, April 10 against New England Revolution II at Inter Miami CF Stadium. The match, which will be the USL League One season opener, will air live on ESPN+.
“Really excited to transition to this new opportunity and continue to focus on the development of the impressive young talent at the Club. The work the staff is doing with Fort Lauderdale CF and our Inter Miami CF Academy is important for our development pathway here at the Club as we continue to challenge the young players of South Florida to push themselves within their soccer journey,” said Powell.
Powell joined Inter Miami in Jan. 2020 and began assisting with Fort Lauderdale CF in Feb. 2020, serving as the acting head coach on occasions when Jason Kreis was on-duty with the U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team. Kreis recently transitioned to a new role as the assistant coach for the Club’s MLS team.
Prior to joining Inter Miami, Powell served as head coach of San Antonio FC in the USL Championship from 2016 to 2019. He also served as Academy Director of Orlando City SC (2014-2016), and head coach of Elon University (2005-2014) and Greensboro College (1998-2001).
Martin Paterson, who played for several clubs in England, will continue to serve as assistant coach. He spent the majority of his playing career as a forward for Burnley Football Club, and also featured for the Northern Ireland senior national team. Paterson has prior coaching experience, serving as an assistant on the Tampa Bay Rowdies coaching staff (2018-2019).
Chris Barocas will continue to serve as Goalkeeper Coach for the team. He has previous coaching experience, including recent stops as the Head of Goalkeeping at both the New York Red Bulls Academy and Orlando City SC. He also served as an assistant coach for Orlando City B in his time with the club.
Fort Lauderdale’s home opener will mark the start of League One’s 168-game regular season, making it the first professional men’s league in the United States to begin its new regular-season campaign.
The team will also feature in the home openers of three other League One teams. First, Fort Lauderdale will take on South Georgia Tormenta FC on Saturday, April 17 at Erk Russell Park. Next, the team will travel to Globe Life Park to face North Texas SC on Saturday, April 24. Lastly, Fort Lauderdale will take on Chattanooga Red Wolves SC at CHI Memorial Stadium on Saturday, May 22.
Every game of the 2021 League One season will air on ESPN+, with a complete schedule to be announced in the coming weeks.
The USL League One team, who is instrumental in bridging the youth development gap between the Academy and the First Team, plays and trains at the same state-of-the-art facilities as the First Team and Academy.
During its 2020 debut season, Fort Lauderdale provided professional opportunities to 14 Inter Miami CF Academy players, including the Club’s first three Academy Products signed to the First Team - Edison Azcona, Ian Fray and Felipe Valencia.