March 22, 2011 - North American Soccer League (NASL) - Minnesota United FC
BLAINE, Minn. (March 22, 2011) - The NSC Minnesota Stars announced Tuesday the signings of four new players, pending USSF approval. Defender Cristiano Dias, midfielders Jeff Cosgriff and Andy Lorei and forward Tino Nunez have all joined the Stars for the upcoming season. Three players from the Stars' inaugural 2010 season have also signed new contracts. Per team policy, financial terms of the deals will not be announced.
"I think all four guys are great additions to the team. All four add quality and depth, and we're incredibly excited to have them on the roster and be a part of this team as we look to improve on last year," Stars head coach Manny Lagos said.
Dias is a 6-foot-3 central defender who joins the Stars after four seasons with Miami FC. The Brazilian back played 79 games from 2007-2010 for the south Florida club, including 15 games last season. He has also played in Brazil for Sao Carlos, Sao Bento, Osasco and Desportivo Brasil. Dias is expected to compete for the center back position vacated by Andres Arango, who left the Stars in February to join FC Tampa Bay.
Cosgriff, a central midfielder from San Francisco, joins the Stars after playing for AC St. Louis in 2010. He played in 24 games for St. Louis as a first-year pro, recording two goals and an assist. He scored in back-to-back games in July, recording the third goal in St. Louis' 3-0 victory over the Montreal Impact and the second goal in a 2-2 tie with the Stars at NSC Stadium.
Lorei, an outside midfielder from Erie, Penn., returns to second division soccer after spending most of 2010 on loan to the Michigan Bucks of the USL Premier Development League. Lorei began his professional career with the Rochester Rhinos in 2008, but a torn anterior cruciate ligament interrupted his career in New York. He signed with the Real Maryland Monarchs of USL-2 in 2010 and appeared in one match before going on loan to the Bucks, where he played 14 games, scoring one goal and recording three assists.
Nunez is a center forward from Long Beach, Calif. The 5-foot-8 striker joins the Stars after spending 2010 with the Rochester Rhinos. Prior to his season in Rochester, Nunez spent time in 2008 and 2009 with Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer, scoring one goal in 12 matches. He also played five games on loan in 2009 with USL-2's Harrisburg City Islanders. In college, Nunez was a key player for the University of California-Santa Barbara Gauchos, appearing in the 2004 College Cup final and winning the 2006 edition, UCSB's first national championship in any sport.
The Stars have also re-signed three players from last year's team. Woodbury, Minn., natives Brian Kallman and Andrei Gotsmanov have signed new contracts, as has Neil Hlavaty, a midfielder from Lombard, Ill. Kallman, a defender, made 16 appearances for the Stars at both center and right back. Gotsmanov struggled with injuries throughout the 2010 season but contributed three assists in 17 matches, including a two-assist performance on the road against the Portland Timbers on August 11. Hlavaty made 22 appearances for the Stars in 2010, scoring three goals, including a memorable game-winner in front of the NSC Stadium Beer Garden on May 29 against AC St. Louis.
The Stars begin their 2011 North American Soccer League season April 9 with a road match against the Atlanta Silverbacks. The Stars' home opener is April 30 at 7:30 p.m. against the Carolina RailHawks. Season tickets start at $135 for adult general admission or $75 for youth age 17 or younger and are available by calling (763) 792-7355 or visiting NSCMinnesotaTickets.com. Single-game tickets are also on sale now with prices starting at $12 for adults, $6 for youth.