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NASL Champion Minnesota Stars Will Return 18 Players for 2012 Season

2011 November 29
by Brian Quarstad

The Minnesota Stars announced today they are exercising options on 18 players that were part of the 2011 NASL Championship team.

Players returning for the 2012 season will be: Goalkeeper and defenders Matt VanOekel, Justin Davis, Kyle Altman, Cristiano Dias, Gino Mauro, Jack Stewart and Brian Kallman.

The Stars will also use their option on contracts for midfielders and forwards: Ely Allen, Jeff Cosgriff, Andrei Gotsmanov, Neil Hlavaty, Andy Lorei, Lucas Rodriguez, Kentaro Takada, Amani Walker, Simone Bracalello, Brian Cvilikas and Devin Del Do.

The Stars chose not to pick up the options of defenders Chris Clements and John Gilkerson, midfielders Sandy Gbandi and Geison Moura and forward Tino Nunez. Clements and Moura had each spent two years with the club, while Gbandi, Gilkerson and Nunez each signed prior to the 2011 season.

“We’re really excited to bring back a large majority of the team that was successful last year and continue to build a team around those pieces,” Stars head coach Manny Lagos said. “We also really appreciate the contributions of those players who we chose not to bring back. We made some really tough decisions, and we wish those players well as they continue their careers.”

IMS will be talking to coach Manny Lagos this afternoon for more details. Check back to IMS tonight for the story.

Full press release

BLAINE, Minn. (Nov. 29, 2011) — The Minnesota Stars will return a core of 18 players for the 2012 North American Soccer League season after exercising options on a goalkeeper, six defenders, eight midfielders and three forwards. The Stars also elected not pick up five contract options.

Goalkeeper Matt VanOekel will return to Minnesota in 2012. VanOekel made one start in 2011 and has made seven appearances overall for the Stars since 2010.

The Stars also exercised the options of six defenders, five of whom saw significant time in 2011. Left back Justin Davis; center backs Kyle Altman, Cristiano Dias, Gino Mauro and Jack Stewart; and right back Brian Kallman will all return to the club in 2012. Altman, Davis, Dias, Kallman and Stewart combined for 113 appearances in defense in 2011.

The Stars hold the rights for 2012 for midfielders Ely Allen, Jeff Cosgriff, Andrei Gotsmanov, Neil Hlavaty, Andy Lorei, Lucas Rodriguez and Kentaro Takada, who accounted for a large number of starts in midfield during the season. The seven midfielders returning accounted for 16 goals for the Stars in 2011.

The club also exercised options on forwards Simone Bracalello, Brian Cvilikas, Devin Del Do and Amani Walker. The four forwards combined for 15 goals in 2011.

“We’re really excited to bring back a large majority of the team that was successful last year and continue to build a team around those pieces,” Stars head coach Manny Lagos said. “We also really appreciate the contributions of those players who we chose not to bring back. We made some really tough decisions, and we wish those players well as they continue their careers.”

The Stars chose not to pick up the options of defenders Chris Clements and John Gilkerson, midfielders Sandy Gbandi and Geison Moura and forward Tino Nunez. Clements and Moura had each spent two years with the club, while Gbandi, Gilkerson and Nunez each signed prior to the 2011 season.

3 Responses
  1. Soccer Boy permalink
    November 29, 2011

    I am really excited that the Stars are bringing back some great players from their back line. Kyle Altman stepped up his game and filled some big shoes with the departure of The Wrangler. I also saw some great maturity from Kallman–who did an excellent job moving up the right flank and keeping his cool. Toward the end of the season the backline really found their form, and came a long way–they looked terrible in that pre-season scrimmage over at Augsburg.

    From what I saw, Gotsmanov also stepped up his game. If my memory serves me correct, he scored the first goal of the season down in Atlanta, and also came up big in the first match against Carolina with his chip over the GKs head to put the Stars up in the series. He was also able to keep health. From the training sessions I went to, I was really impressed with his work-rate.

    I would be curious to know the fate of Friedland, Wasson, Warren and Mullhouland. At 36 years old, Joe is in his prime! I was deflated that Kevin did not play a lot this past season, and I know he struggled with injury. If he does not play, I would love to see him on the field as a coach and also his work in the front office was commendable. (The fantasy camp this past season was top-notch.)

    Thanks for keeping on top of this BQ!

  2. Diego permalink
    November 30, 2011

    Don’t you think we’re ready for a player with one name?

  3. November 30, 2011

    We have one, his name is Christiano.

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