FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THUNDER RESIGNS DEFENDER KEVIN FRIEDLAND
Thunder Signs Goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel and Defender Brian Kallman
SAINT PAUL, Minn. (Wednesday, April 2, 2008) – The Minnesota Thunder announced today that defender Kevin Friedland has returned to the Thunder under a one year contract with a two year option. The year 2008 will mark Friedland’s fifth year with the Thunder. In addition, the Thunder have come to terms with rookie goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel who has also signed a one year contract with a two year option. Brian Kallman, who was with the Thunder in 2006, has also rejoined the team, federation approval. Kallman has signed a one year contract with a two year option.
Friedland first joined the Thunder in the 2004 season and with the exception of a few injuries over the years, has been a staple for the organization both on and off the field. The four-year starter for Southern Methodist University spent the off-season in Argentina with Thunder head coach Amos Magee as captain of the Unites States soccer team who won the gold medal at the Pan American Maccabi games.
In 2007, Friedland played in 26 regular season games logging the second most minutes on the team with 2032. He also added one goal.
“Kevin is our longest tenured player and continues to bring intelligence, maturity and athleticism to our team,” said Magee. “ We expect Kevin to help lead us into the playoffs this season.”
“I am looking forward to my 5th season with the club,” said Friedland. “With all of the changes the new ownership is making, both on and off the field, it is an exciting time to be a Thunder player.’
Van Oekel spent three of his four seasons at the University of Rutgers. The 6-4, 200 pound goalkeeper started 18 games last season, allowing 26 goals against for a GAA of 1.39. In the 2006 season he played in 18 games conceding 16 goals against for a GAA of .83. Van Oekel was first seen at the 2008 Thunder combine in February.
Matt impressed the coaching staff at our 2008 combine with his size, quickness and shot stopping ability,” said Magee. “He’s a young goalkeeper that will challenge Nic Platter day in and day out.”
Kallman returns to the Thunder after taking a year off of professional soccer. The graduate of Creighton University spent the 2006 season with the Thunder playing in 15 games and logging 711 minutes. Kallman was the Thunder’s second round draft pick in the 2006 USL First Division College Player draft.
“Brian has been an incredibely pleasant surprise,” said Magee. “He has had a fantastic month of training, showing vast improvement from where he was when he was with us in 2006. His toughness, athleticism and communication will add a lot to the Thunder moving forward.”
The Minnesota Thunder will open its home season on Sunday, May 4 at James Griffin Stadium against the Rochester Raging Rhinos at 5:05 p.m.