News Release     05/13/1998      Djorn Buchholz    (651) 917-TEAM (8326)

Thunder sign sought-after midfielder Constantin Stanici of Romania

Beating out clubs from France, Germany, Greece, Cyprus and Israel, the Minnesota Thunder professional soccer team on Tuesday signed Romanian midfielder Constantin Stanici.

Stanici, the star of Minnesota’s free-agent combine in March, is scheduled to join the Thunder May 23 but won’t be available for that evening’s home opener against the Charleston Battery at Blaine’s National Sports Center. Club officials hope to have Stanici in uniform for the Thunder’s May 29 home game against the Albuquerque Geckos.

Stanici, 28, played most recently with BVSC of the Hungarian First Division. His international career includes two appearances for Romania’s national team, a dozen games for its Olympic squad and 73 appearances -- and 41 goals -- for the junior national team.

"Constantin is a legitimate star," said Bill Manning, Thunder president. "He was big-time in Romania."

Stanici hopes to use the A-League Thunder as a springboard to Major League Soccer.

"He came to the U.S. because he wanted his kids [ages 6 and 3] to be educated here," said Manning. "He came to Minnesota to get noticed for MLS."

Minnesota’s current roster of 26 players will be trimmed by two on May 15, June 1 and June 15.