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City Stars Add MLS Experience And Bolster Defense With Two Key Signings

April 1, 2009 - USL First Division (USL-1) - Cleveland City Stars News Release

The Cleveland City Stars have signed defenders Troy Roberts and Paul Ballard. Roberts joins the City Stars from the LA Galaxy (MLS), while Ballard comes to Cleveland from South Africa's FCAK.

Roberts played collegiately at UC Berkeley in Berkeley, California where he was a two-time All-PAC 10 selection in 2003 and 2004. Roberts played the 2004 season with the Sonoma County Sol of the NPSL before being drafted as the 8th overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft by the LA Galaxy.

"Troy is a guy who we targeted early and we're glad that we were able to bring him into Cleveland," said Cleveland City Stars Executive Director Aaron Tredway. "He brings some good Major League experience to the club and he will help sure up our defense."

The 5-11 defender made 61 total appearances for the Galaxy from 2005-2009 and tallied two goals.

"This is a new experience for me because I've been in California my whole life," said Roberts. "I talked to Rod (Underwood) a lot before coming here about the organization and what it stands for and I think it's really admirable. I was brought in to help defensively and it will be an adjustment to get to know the characteristics of my new teammates but that's a challenge that I'm looking forward to so that we can be as solid defensively as we are offensively."

Ballard brings more international experience to the Cleveland City Stars from his time at FCAK in South Africa as well as his college career in Canada.

The Canadian defender captained the squad at Trinity Western University in Langley, BC, Canada and was a four-time Canada West Conference All-Star.

He was also named All-Canadian in 2005 and 2006, and was honored with the Trinity Western University Athlete of the Year award both years.

Ballard went on to play for the Vancouver Whitecaps Reserve team before leaving overseas for FCAK in Johannesburg. FCAK (Football Club Azziz Kara) participates in the National First Division, Inland Stream, South Africa's second-highest league.

"Paul is a tough defender and another guy who can help secure our back line," said Tredway. "Paul will be a good fit for the club, both on and off the field, and we're excited to have him on board."

Ballard is a member of Athletes in Action (AIA), an organization whose mission is to build spiritual movements through sports. Founded in 1966, AIA is a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ and hopes to widen the reach of sports ministry.

The Cleveland City Stars are currently doing pre-season training at the AIA Sports Complex in Xenia, Ohio.

"Coming in as a defender I think that I can add to the existing team and the future of this program," said Ballard. "I'm excited about the connection with AIA and being here at Athletes in Action is a dream come true for me. I've always believed that I've been blessed to play soccer for a reason and the right team would eventually come along. Here I am in Cleveland and I'm excited about taking the next step with the City Stars."

Roberts and Ballard have joined the City Stars in Xenia and will be on hand for the remainder of preseason training.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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