Minnesota Stars FC Make 6 Big Signings
Minnesota Stars FC made their 2013 ambitions clear today when they announced six signings: Pablo Campos, Eitenne Barbara, Daryl Sattler, Bryan Arguez, Aaron Pitchkolen, and the resigning of Simone Bracalello.
Campos, Sattler, and Pitchkolen are coming off the back of a NASL regular season Championship with the San Antonio Scorpions. Campos was both the league MVP and the Golden Boot winner in 2012 and Sattler led the league in goals against and was arguably the NASL’s best keeper. Pitchkolen is a well traveled and highly regarded midfielder who San Antonio locals have described as a “huge loss.”
Etienne Barbara is returning to the NASL from MLS’ Vancouver Whitecaps. Former Carolina RailHawks coach Martin Rennie signed the Maltese international on the back of a 2011 Golden Boot and NASL MVP season for Barbara. His time was limited by injury last season and the Whitecaps cut the prolific goalscorer loose to pursue other opportunities.
The Stars are looking to reunite Campos and Barbara who played together for the RailHawks under Rennie and combined for 35 goals in 2011. Lagos was quoted on the Stars website as saying:
“We sat down after the year and talked about ways we wanted to further elevate our performance on the field to give Minnesotans a good product, and we identified players we thought could help us do that, and I’m just really excited to get the kind of players we’re announcing today. Hopefully the fans are excited to have the last two MVPs and players who have excelled together and are looking forward to playing together.”
The Minnesota Stars were acquired shortly after the close of the 2012 season by former United HealthGroup CEO and Twin City resident, Dr. William McGuire. The sale ended the rampant speculation that the Stars would fold after the 2012 season. McGuire is a noted philanthropist and keen businessman who looks to bring not only financial backing but his considerable marketing background to “The team no one wanted.”
The acquisition of the last two NASL Golden Boot winners and last seasons Golden Glove winners drops the gauntlet for the already controversial NASL 2013 Opening Season. McGuire and head coach Manny Lagos clearly mean business in 2013.
Lagos, seen by many (including this writer) as the best coach outside Division 1 famously won the Inaugural NASL Soccer Bowl with the now infamous “Team no one wanted.” He also led the Stars to the Final in 2012 only to lose to the Tampa Bay Rowdies in a thoroughly entertaining final. He and McGuire clearly seek to reestablish Minnesota’s long standing legacy in the US soccer landscape.
The Stars also announced the signing of former DC United player Hertha Berlin, Montreal Impact and FC Edmonton midfielder Bryan Arguez, a third former San Antonio Scorpion, Aaron Pitchkolan, and the resigning of Italian striker Simone Bracalello. This brings the offseason haul for the Stars to six (mostly) new signings and essentially an entirely new spine for the 2013 opening and closing seasons.
This may not be the end of what is certainly a bright start for the 2013 Stars either, the clubs website claims that:
“Additional announcements about the team, including new matches and other player and coaching additions, are expected in the coming month.”
The Stars will open the 2013 season on Saturday April 6th against the San Antonio Scorpions at home. It looks to be shaping up to be quite an eventful affair.