ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Staff photo by Robin Rudd / Chattanooga Red Wolves SC team president and general manager Sean McDaniel, left, shakes Jimmy Obleda's hand during a news conference introducing him as the team's new coach on Nov. 21, 2019.

Jimmy Obleda undoubtedly would have liked a better result from his Chattanooga Red Wolves' road match against Fort Lauderdale CF on Saturday night, as the 1-all draw left them fifth in the USL League One standings.

Otherwise, the Florida trip should have brought back nothing but good memories for the coach.

The visit to the Miami area for the Red Wolves also marked a return to a place Obleda once called home, having played for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the A-League, which was the highest division of soccer in the United States at the time.

"I'm real excited," Obleda said last week. "I loved living in Florida and the time I played here, I loved playing for Fort Lauderdale. I love the city. I made some really good friends and people I still keep in contact with.

"When you're not around it, you forget about the (water) channels, you forget about the boats, and it brings back some great memories of being here and playing for the Strikers."

He called a goal scored in a match against Haiti's national team — one played in front of 60,000 fans at the defunct Orange Bowl in Miami — his greatest experience during his time there.

So much has changed since he left. David Beckham, one of the world's greatest soccer players, since retiring from competition has brought Inter Miami CF to Major League Soccer, and the first-year expansion team currently plays at the same site where Obleda played in his Florida days. It's also where the Red Wolves and Fort Lauderdale played Saturday.

"There's no possibility of them failing, right?" Obleda joked last week about Inter Miami CF and then said about Beckham: "Everything that he touches turns to gold. He is seeing what the vision is for the soccer product on the field and bringing in the quality of coach, and really the investment into the stadium and redoing everything to a more modern standard."

The Red Wolves are 2-2-3 under Obleda, a former youth coach in his first year heading a pro team, as they near the season's midpoint. Similar to last year in their inaugural campaign, the Red Wolves have been much better at home, where they are 2-1, than on the road, where they have yet to win in 2020, having earned three draws and taken a loss.

Chattanooga's next match is Wednesday against the New England Revolution II at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Red Wolves then face the Richmond Kickers at 1 p.m. Saturday at CHI Memorial Stadium in East Ridge.

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenley3.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT