Kevin Friedland, Brian Kallman and Matt VanOekel are going nowhere. A month after announcing big moves in the free agency market, Minnesota Stars FC moved to prolong the stays of three veterans to Minnesota’s soccer scene.
The club announced Tuesday that it had re-signed player-coach Friedland for the 2013 season and extended the contracts of Kallman through 2015 and VanOekel through 2014. The three players’ stay in Minnesota professional soccer dates back to the days of the Minnesota Thunder, and they are the three longest-tenured active players on Minnesota’s roster.
“I’m proud of the fact that I’ve spent 10 years playing in Minnesota,” Friedland said. “It’s crazy to think that I’ve spent almost my entire career here. I’m looking forward to the direction the club is going under the local ownership off the field, and on the field I’m looking to help us win another championship.”
After one season with Major League Soccer’s Kansas City Wizards, Friedland, a defender, arrived in Minnesota in 2004 as a member of the Thunder. Since 2010, when he signed with Stars FC as a player-coach, he has made 34 appearances in all competitions, recording two assists and scoring his first goal with the club last season.
Kallman is a 28-year-old defender from Woodbury, Minn., who has spent his entire professional career in Minnesota, beginning in 2006. In 2012 he stepped up as the club’s vice captain, making 32 total appearances in NASL and Lamar Hunt US Open Cup play. He ranked first among NASL defenders in 2012 with four assists during league play.
Like Kallman, VanOekel has exclusively called Minnesota home during his professional career. 2012 was a breakout season for the 26-year-old goalkeeper, as he took over as the club’s starter and made 33 appearances in league and Open Cup play, posting a 1.11 goals-against average and making 114 saves.
“The fans have seen a core of dedicated players who want to see the club succeed and play at the highest level,” head coach Manny Lagos said. “I’m excited we’ve been able to bring back veterans who have helped build what we have now and believe in the new direction of the club.”
Minnesota Stars FC will kick-off its season in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on April 6th against the San Antonio Scorpions. After playing five games in the Metrodome, the Stars will play the remainder of the season at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn. Ticket prices–which will range from $6 to $30–are unchanged from the 2011 and 2012 seasons, thus providing everyone with the opportunity to be part of the professional soccer experience and enjoy the most popular sport in the world.
Season tickets are available now by calling the Minnesota Stars FC box office at (763) 792-7355 or by clicking here. Full season ticket packages start for as low as $80 for youth age 17 and younger and $145 for adults. Half-season and five-game Metrodome packages are also available now.
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