The Premier Development League's Fredericksburg Hotspur has landed a World Cup veteran and former MLS player, signing Trinidad & Tobago international Evans Wise to the club to bring leadership and stability to the young squad.
"I'm definitely excited to be part of the team," Wise said in an interview with The Soccer Wire.
The 38-year old Wise last played with lower-level German club Waldhof Mannheim from 2005 to 2007 and was a part of T&T's 2006 World Cup team, making appearances in games against England and Paraguay. He has 18 caps and scored three goals for T&T.
Currently, Wise lives with his family in Bowie, Md.
Wise said he noticed that the Hotspur, in its first season as a PDL and W-League franchise in the United Soccer Leagues, had a strong sense of professionalism that appealed to him, as the club was nominated for the USL's rookie franchise of the year award. The club is also partnering with the Virginia Youth Soccer Association on the Spotsylvania Sportsplex, a 16-field facility.
Though the Hotspur finished last in the South Atlantic Division with a 2-11-3 record in 2011, Wise's signing and the expected addition of a number of Division I players figures to make the team more competitive in an expanded division in 2012.
"Playing-wise, I think I can bring something to the table in terms of my experience, playing with the different players that they're bringing in, the young guys," Wise said. "They can learn a lot from me with the experience I have playing with the national team."
And Wise said he still has something left to offer on the field, as well, describing himself as a technical player.
"I work hard all over the field, both offensively and defensively, and I can get some goals also," Wise said.
He played collegiately with New Jersey's Mercer County Community College in 1994, earning NJCAA Division I second-team All-American honors.
He started his professional career in Germany in 1995 with SG Egelsbach and was taken fourth overall in the 1996 MLS supplemental draft by the Tampa Bay Mutiny.
During his time in MLS, Wise played with both the Mutiny and New England before returning to Germany, where he played with three different teams from 1999 to 2003, when he went to Trinidad to play with Joe Public. He again returned to Germany to play for Waldhof Mannheim, a lower-level club.
Wise said his 2006 World Cup experience with T&T was the highlight of his career, playing in his adopted country of Germany, where he lived for 12 years.
"Words can't even describe it," Wise said. "It was the best feeling ever."
Wise believes the level of soccer has increased since he last played in the U.S., noting that guys he played with and against, guys like Steve Ralston, Dominic Kinnear and Frank Yallop, are now coaches in the league.
"In 1996, there wasn't really a system like what they have right now with the USL and the PDL," Wise said.
Wise said he hopes to play for at least one more season, but is leaving his options open for the future.
He said he has started training for the season and expects to be at full fitness by the time the Hotspur opens its season May 13 against Northern Virginia. The Hotspur plays its first home game May 19 against the Virginia Beach Piranhas at the University of Mary Washington.
Wise is looking forward to being a part of an emerging club and looks forward to the competition.
"I'm taking it one year at a time, because I'm not getting any younger," Wise said, laughing. "The good thing is to be a part of a team committed to winning."