April 22, 2009 - USL First Division (USL-1) - Cleveland City Stars
The Cleveland City Stars welcome back fan-favorite Hunter Gilstrap. Gilstrap played goalkeeper for the City Stars for both the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Gilstrap and Anthony Stovall are the only two players to have played all three years with the City Stars.
"Having Hunter back in Cleveland is huge for the club and the City Stars fans," said executive director Aaron Tredway. "Hunter has been a mainstay for the Cleveland City Stars and has been one of our top performers since the beginning. Bringing him in completes a solid goalkeeping lineup and brings a familiar face back to the squad."
Gilstrap returns to the City Stars for his third season after playing for Maritzburg United of the South African Premier League during the off-season. Gilstrap began his soccer career playing for Clemson University and the College of Charleston, where he registered a 1.03 goals allowed average (GAA) and a combined 7 shutouts.
In 2006 he signed with Miami FC after being the 13th overall pick and first goalkeeper selected in the USL-1 draft. With Miami FC he appeared in international friendlies against teams from Spain, Brazil and Guatemala.
In the City Stars' inaugural season, Gilstrap appeared in 12 matches, recorded 6 shutouts and had a GAA of .500. He was named the USL-2 GAA Champion, (formerly named the Goalkeeper of the Year Award), and was the USL-2 Player of the Week in August after a 7-save shutout against the Harrisburg City Islanders.
In 2008, Gilstrap recorded 3 shutouts and had a GAA of 1.125 after appearing in 8 matches. He started two of the three US Open Cup matches against the Michigan Bucks and Chicago Fire. Gilstrap was a key component in the run to the USL-2 championship.
"I'm really excited to be back with the Cleveland City Stars this season," said Gilstrap. "I didn't think I'd be back here so soon. When the opportunity presented itself I absolutely jumped on it. I'm not really sure what to expect with our new team with so many new faces and new challenges, but I know that the organization has done an amazing job of putting together a quality group of guys on such short notice. I think it's going to be another awesome ride."
Gilstrap will be in the new Nike uniform for Saturday's match against the USL expansion franchise Austin Aztex at 8:05 p.m.