2011 was a tumultuous year for NSC Minnesota and the professional game in the North Star State. After an underwhelming showing by the club in their first season in 2010, the Stars lost their ownership and became a league owned team. The loss in ownership was not due to the owners themselves, the National Sports Center, but rather the requirements by the USSF. Those standards state
“In addition, each team must have and its governing documents must designate one principal owner with a controlling interest who owns at least 35% of the team and has authority to bind the team. Such principal owner must have an individual net worth of at least twenty million US dollars (US $20,000,000) exclusive of the value of his/her ownership in the league or team and his/her primary personal residence.”
In the end this meant that the ownership must have a net worth of $20 million to own the team and compete in a D2 League, requirements that the National Sports Center didn’t meet. Due to that reason the North American Soccer League took over the team with a commitment to operate the team for a minimum of three seasons.
Now we’ll take a look at the 11 starters and two substitutes that were used in that match. Due to the NASL website (while still being up) being stripped of almost all content we’re not able to provide all seven players that were on the bench that day. Players Devin Del Do, Ely Allen, Kyle Altman, Chris Clements, Joseph Warren, and Simone Bracalello were covered in full in our 2010 edition and you can read their full bios here.
#15 Devin Del Do - Played for NSC Minnesota Stars from 2010-12. Retired following the 2014 season and is a Sales Consultant in the Greater Los Angeles area,
#13 Kentaro Takada - Prior to Takada coming to NSC Minnesota he had initially played in his native Japan. First with his University, Hokkaido University of Education then moving on to play for Tokyo United. In 2006 he joined Thespa Kusatsu’s reserve side but was called up to the Senior side in the J2 League in 2007. After spending the 2007 and 2008 seasons in Japan, Takada came to the United States and was signed by PDL side Rochester Thunder. After a single season in Rochester he came North to the Twin Cities joining NSC Minnesota in 2010. After 5 seasons with the Stars/Loons Takada joined USL side St. Louis FC for the 2015 season and played there for two years. Following his two seasons in St. Louis he made the move to Atlanta to play for the now NPSL Atlanta Silverbacks side. After a season in Atlanta he retired and is now the Select Director for the Tucker Youth Soccer Association in Tucker, GA.
#18 Jeff Cosgriff - Cosgriff played his first three seasons of College Soccer at UC Santa Clara for the Broncos before transferring to Cal-Berkeley for his Senior Year. During college he also played for the San Jose Frogs, San Francisco Seals, and NorCal Lamorinda United in the PDL and NPSL. Following four years of college soccer and three PDL or NPSL seasons he joined AC St. Louis for the 2010 USSF D2 Pro League Season. In January 2011 AC St. Louis folded and ceased operations, which then saw Cosgriff join NSC Minnesota. In his lone season for the Stars he made 24 appearances scoring 2 goals and getting three assists. He would retire following the 2011 season and since retiring has been a Software Engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area.
#4 Neil Hlavaty - For some of our newer and or Madison fans, Neil Hlavaty will be one of the more recognizable names on the list of players, as he was signed as an assistant coach for Forward Madison FC prior to 2019. During his playing career he spent three years at Boston University playing for the Terriers and spent the summer of 2006 and 07 with Chicago Fire Premier of the PDL. In 2008 he turned professional signing with the Cleveland City Stars of the old USL First Division. In 2009 he joined Swedish side Östers FC before moving to Polish club Jagiellonia Białystok that same year. He returned to the States in 2010 signing with NSC Minnesota. After a three year stint in the Twin Cities Hlavaty moved on to FC Edmonton for the 2013 and 14 seasons. After Edmonton he stayed in the NASL as a journeyman player making single season stops with Carolina RailHawks in 2015 and Fort Lauderdale Strikers in 2016. In 2017 he joined PDL side Myrtle Beach Mutiny then moved to Richmond Kickers in 2018 before being signed as an assistant coach with Forward Madison in 2019.
#26 Ely Allen - Played for the Stars from 2010 until being released prior to the 2012 season. Allen has not played professional soccer since then.
#16 Kyle Altman - Played for the Stars/Loons from 2010 through the Spring season in 2013. He then retired and attended medical school at UTSA and is now a resident Orthopedic Surgeon in the Greenville, SC area.
#11 Chris Clements - Played for the Stars in the 2010 and 2011 seasons. He has not played professional soccer since his last match with NSC Minnesota in 2011.
#15 John Gilkerson - For Gilkerson, NSC Minnesota would actually be the final stop in his career as he retired following the 2011 NASL Season. Prior to spending his final year with the Stars he started out his senior career with the Virginia Beach Submariners of the PDL and stayed with them in 2007 when they became the Hampton Roads Piranhas. In 2008 he turned professional being signed by the New York Red Bulls but was loaned to the USL Second Division’s Richmond Kickers. He then moved on to the Carolina RailHawks for the 2009 and 2010 seasons before coming to Minnesota in 2011 to finish his career.
#5 Jack Stewart - Stewart is another player on the 2011 roster who was winding down his career when he joined NSC Minnesota, albeit he wasn’t here the entire season. After a four year career with the University of Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish he joined the PDL’s Indiana Invaders following his senior season. Stewart was then taken 10th Overall in the 2005 MLS SuperDraft by Chicago Fire. He would play 2005 and part of 2006 with the Fire before being traded to Real Salt Lake in July of that year. He would then finish the 06 and play the 07 season with RSL before leaving for Norway’s Moss FK. 2008 would see him sent to Nybergsund IL-Trysil in July to finish out the year. In 2009 Stewart returned to the US signing with Carolina RailHawks but would take a year off in 2010 before joining the Stars. In August he was sent on loan for the remainder of the season to MLS side FC Dallas so he did not get to play in the Soccer Bowl. In 2012 he was picked up by Fort Lauderdale Strikers before retiring at the end of the season. Since retiring in 2012 Jack Stewart has been a Sales and Business Development Manager for various companies in the Southern California area.
#1 Joseph Warren - Played for the Thunder from 1998-2007. Following a short two year absence he returned to the Stars in 2010 and helped guide them to a Championship in 2011. Following the 2011 NASL season he retired as a player and has coached various different soccer teams and clubs in the Twin Cities metro area and has also worked as a Health and Physical Education teacher.
#19 F, Simone Bracalello - Played for the Stars/Loons from 2010-14, he then left the club for the Carolina RailHawks where he played his final season. Bracalello is now the Technical Director for Wake FC in Cary, NC.
#18 F, Andy Lorei - Lorei is another player who was active all the way up until 2019. He started his professional career with the Rochester Rhinos of the USL First Division in 2008 after having played collegiality for Gannon University. He stayed with the Rhinos in 2009 but moved to PDL side Real Maryland Monarchs in 2010 where he was loaned to the Michigan Bucks. After a season in the PDL Lorei signed with the Stars for the 2011 season and would play for the club again in 2012. During the offseason he signed with the Ohio Vortex (Canton, OH) of the indoor Professional Arena Soccer League for the 2011-12 season, which would be his first of many forays into indoor soccer. After taking 2013 off he would sign with Swedish side Bodens BK before returning to the US to play for Tulsa Roughnecks (now FC Tulsa) in the USL for two seasons in 2015 and 16. Lorei would also make appearances for Minneapolis City SC that year as well. In late 2017 he signed with Major Arena Soccer League franchise San Diego Sockers but would play mostly with their Sockers 2 reserve side in Major Arena Soccer League 2 (m2). In November 2018 he was traded from the Sockers to the Ontario Fury where he played for the 2018-19 season. Andy Lorei is now a Reciting Specialist with NCSA Sports.
Rest of the Season:
Even with the shoestring budget given to the team by the league Manny Lagos put together a squad that would finish 9-9-10 with 36 points, just barely good enough for 6th place and the final playoff spot. The playoff spot came in hand with a Cinderella run through the playoffs. In the First Round NSC Minnesota defeated FC Tampa Bay (now Tampa Bay Rowdies) on the road 1-0 in St. Petersburg. The NASL Semi-Finals were a two-legged affair with the Stars winning 1-0 in Blaine before losing the second match in Cary, NC to the RailHawks (now North Carolina FC) 3-1 before beating them on penalties 5-3 to advance to the NASL Soccer Bowl Championship. The Soccer Bowl, another two legged affair, started with a 3-1 Stars win over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers before a 0-0 draw at Lockhart Stadium in the Second Leg to give NSC Minnesota their first (and so far Minnesota United’s only) Playoff Championship. That night famously ended with the players and supporters who took the trip down drinking Surly out of the trophy at a local bar near the stadium.