News Release     06/11/2001      Djorn Buchholz    (651) 917-TEAM (8326)

Thunder Acquires Midfield Star from Atlanta, Trades Mladenov

Armas Comes to Minnesota with MLS Experience

BLAINE, Minn. (June 11, 2001) – The Minnesota Thunder orchestrated a three-team trade today and acquired midfielder and captain Steve Armas from the Atlanta Silverbacks. The Thunder traded midfielder Stoian Mladenov to the Rochester Rhinos and Rhinos’ midfielder Carlos Parra was sent to Atlanta.

“Our team needs a shot in the arm,” said Thunder head coach Buzz Lagos. “And we are confident that the acquisition of Steve Armas, and the addition of Paul Nowak will kick start our team.”

Atlanta acquired Armas in April after being released by the Tampa Bay Mutiny of Major League Soccer.

In eight appearances this season, Armas played 665 minutes for the Silverbacks and tallied two assists for two points.

Armas, 24, signed as a “Discovery Player” by the Columbus Crew in May 2000. He played 73 minutes in his MLS debut on June 24 against New England in a Crew victory and started in four consecutive games before a quadriceps strain ended his season. Tampa Bay claimed Armas off waivers from Columbus last November. He trained with the Mutiny and Thunder teammates Kalin Bankov and Amos Magee for four months during the 2001 pre-season.

Armas was a standout midfielder at the University of Maryland and a college teammate of Thunder midfielder Kirk Miller. He played in four straight NCAA Tournaments, with a trip to the Final Four in 1998 as a senior, Maryland’s first Final Four appearance since 1969. Armas was a member of the U-17 and U-20 U.S. National Teams. His U-17 team competed in the Youth World Championships in 1993 in Japan, a trip where he was accompanied by Thunder general manager Jim Froslid, who represented U.S. Soccer as the team’s press officer.

Armas will join the team at Wednesday’s 6 pm training session in Blaine. Nowak, who was acquired last week, arrives in the Twin Cities tomorrow.

The Thunder has played 10 of its first 14 games on the road and will play 11 of its next 12 at home. . The Thunder’s next home game is Saturday against first place Portland (5-2, 22 points) at the National Sports Center (kickoff 7:35 pm).

Last season Mladenov was named First-Team All-League. He scored 10 goals and added 5 assists for 25 points during the regular season. This season Mladenov has not scored a goal in nine appearances.

Mladenov joined the Thunder early in the 1998 season and played in 20 games, starting 18. In 1999 he led the team in games (27), starts (26), minutes (2,392), goals (10), points (28) and shots (61). During his three seasons with the Thunder, Mladenov has compiled 74 points, 28 goals and 18 assists.

Few Tickets Remain for July 3 USA-Canada Match

Less than 800 reserved tickets ($30) remain for the July 3 USA-Canada match at the National Sports Center, according to Minnesota Thunder officials. Tickets can be purchased through Ticket Master by calling 651-989-5151.

US Soccer, Minnesota Thunder and National Sports Center officials will decide next week if and what kind of an expansion will be made to the stadium to accommodate more seats. The stadium is currently configured for 11,000 seats.

Regardless, the Minnesota Thunder is likely to sell a limited number of lawn seats on the day of game to accommodate the high demand.

The National Sports Center is reminding all July 3 attendees that there will be a $5 charge for parking.


Northwest Airlines is the presenting sponsor of the upcoming appearances:

· Don Gramenz will lead story hour and the kickoff party of the summer reading program at Barnes & Noble, 14111 Aldrich Ave S, Burnsville, on June 12 at 12:30 pm.

· Thunder players will lead story hour at Barnes & Noble, 1291 Promenade Place, Eagan, on June 18 at 11:00 am.

· Thunder players will host a clinic at the grand opening of the new Isanti Soccer Complex on June 16 at 11:00 am.

· Thunder players will host a free clinic at HealthPartners Inver Grove Heights, 5625 Cenex Drive, on June 20 at 10:30 am.

For more information on Thunder appearances contact Community Relations Coordinator Melissa Fox 763-785-3668.

The Minnesota Thunder, founded in 1990, is a second-division professional soccer franchise that plays in the Western Conference of the 21- team A-League. The Thunder's home schedule runs May through September at the National Sports Center in Blaine.