Mayor of Lauderhill, Florida, ready for Hero CPL 2017

Mayor Richard Kaplan - Caribbean National Weekly News

The Hero Caribbean Premier League will be played in the City of Lauderhill on August 5 and 6. Four matches will be played at the Central Broward Regional Stadium in the city.

Lauderhill’s Mayor Richard Kaplan speaking of the pending series said, “It means carrying out our mission of bringing cricket to the United States and to the community. There is a great amount of interest in cricket and sports in general. South Florida is a huge sport mecca.”

Cricket serves city’s large Caribbean population

“The City of Lauderhill has a large Caribbean population and as Mayor of a city you want to provide your residents with what they are looking for. Whatever programs, whatever sports they want – and that’s what we did. We developed programs around their interests, and cricket is one of them.”

Origins of Lauderhill’s cricket stadium

 The story of how Lauderhill became the home of the only international standard cricket facility in the USA is an interesting one. It began with a trip to Chaguanas in Trinidad to discuss that city becoming a sister city with Lauderhill. Mayor Kaplan had conducted some research on cricket before he went on the trip having been invited to watch a match between the West Indies and India, when the topic of cricket World Cup venues came up.

“At the time they were discussing the World Cup coming to the Caribbean. A gentleman asked me if Florida would be interested in bidding for the World Cup,” Mayor Kaplan says. Despite being in the USA and not the Caribbean the Mayor was assured that he could bid on hosting matches. “Being a first-term Mayor I did not know any better and I said ‘sure, why not?’ adds Kaplan. “I returned to the Lauderhill where we planning to build a new park. A survey revealed a cricket stadium was the number one priority for the park. We built the stadium specifically for the World Cup 2007. We put together an incredible bid, overcoming many obstacles, but we were denied and told the tournament couldn’t be in the United States.”

“But the US now had an international-class facility and began to compete with other international teams. We have had several [matches] with the West Indies, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and India. We expect some more in the future and now we have the CPL games.”

Mayor’s Pride

The Mayor is very proud of the cricket stadium and has been converted to the game. He said, “The Central Broward Regional Stadium is the only ICC-sanctioned cricket stadium. [When researching the stadium] we found a lot of people throughout the US would rather come to Florida to watch a game than travel to the Caribbean. We get quite a few people who fly in throughout the United States to watch these games.”

Copyright 2017 – Caribbean National Weekly News