The Cleveland City Stars have signed midfielder Terrence McAllister after the Trinidad native's standout performance during February's international invite-only combine. McAllister joins the club from Trinidad's Joe Public, a participant in the 2008-09 CONCACAF Champions League. The deal is pending USL and USSF approval.
"The signing of a player out of the invite combine is a success and we only hope to continue to build the program over the next few years," said Cleveland City Stars General Manager Mark Geissbauer. "Terrence brings some international experience and has played at a high level. We're really looking for him to play a big part in what we're doing this year, both on and off the field."
McAllister came to Cleveland with no expectations, looking only to make a positive impression on the coaching staff.
"Heading into the tryouts I had confidence in my ability but I didn't necessarily anticipate being signed," said McAllister. "I knew I would give it my best and if I was what the coaching staff was looking for, then I would be chosen."
The 24-year old has represented his country as a member of the Trinidad and Tobago U-17, U-20 and senior national teams. McAllister received 23 caps for the U-17 team and five caps with the U-20 team before being called up to the senior national team in January of 2008 where he started in a 2-1 defeat of Guyana.
McAllister has played professionally since 2002 with Joe Public FC in Trinidad and was a member of the club that defeated the MLS New England Revolution in the CONCACAF Champions League in September of 2008, but only saw action in the final two games of the Group Phase against Atlante (Mexico) and Olimpia (Honduras).
"I believe this is a great opportunity for me. I always wanted to play professionally outside of Trinidad and now that I will be getting that opportunity it is very exciting," said McAllister. "Joe Public was a wonderful organization to work for so I will miss the team and I hope to make them proud. I think there will be many players in Trinidad looking to me and other Trinidadian players who have recently signed with international teams as positive examples."
McAllister had been on the radar of the City Stars front office for some time, and when he became a free agent in 2009, McAllister was quickly invited to the combine.
"I knew about Terrence going in to the combine," said CCS Head Coach Underwood. "I had talked to some people that I trusted and they highly recommended him. He came in during that week and really lived up to expectations."
McAllister will look to build upon his success at the combine when he arrives in Cleveland this week to begin training with the club for the 2009 season.
CITY STARS BEGIN PRE SEASON TRAINING
The City Stars pre season schedule kicked off this week at Brad Friedel's Premier Soccer Academy in Lorain, Ohio. The pro team is joined on the pre season roster by 12 trial players that are working towards the final roster spots.
The City Stars will cap off the second week of two-a-day training with an exhibition match in Rochester against the Rhinos on March 21st.
The team will leave the next day for a week-long trip to Cary, NC at the WakeMed Soccer Complex. While in North Carolina, the City Stars will face Campbell University and former USL-2 rival Charlotte Eagles in exhibitions from March 22nd through March 28th.
From Charlotte, the team will travel to Xenia, Ohio from March 30th through April 4th where the City Stars will train at the brand new Athletes in Action sports complex. While at AIA, the City Stars will face the University of Dayton in an exhibition.
The remainder of the exhibition season will be played against local colleges in Cleveland as the City Stars prepare for the April 18th opener in Miami.
Terrence McAllister: From tryout to triumph
The Cleveland City Stars hosted their first invite-only combine last month at the Brad Friedel Premier Soccer academy in Lorain.
Emerging from the combine as a truly skilled player was Terrence McAllister, a defensive midfielder who hails from Arima, Trinidad.
Coach Rod Underwood says that the decision to extend a contract to Terrence came due to his performance at the combine.
"He was very good on the ball, very committed to what he was doing," says Underwood. "He didn't make a lot of mistakes, and athletically he looked good."
Terrence was one of 50 top professional free agents from around the globe to attend the combine.
"We put together an intriguing group of prospects," said Underwood. "This is another step-up for our organization to put on an invite-only camp at a venue as prestigious as Brad Friedl's."
Coach Underwood heard about Terrence from an agent who recommended the defensive midfielder.
"Terrence came in and did a good job and lived up to expectations. He was brought in with the thought of him challenging for a starting spot," says Underwood.
Terrence was excited about his reception at the combine, and attributes his strong performance to the dedication he has for the game.
"I apply the same dedication I have on the field to my lifestyle and with everything I do," Terrence explains, also crediting his upbeat attitude and ability to energize a crowd as aspects of his success.
Terrence was awarded in 2001 for his outstanding performance on the Trinidad and Tobago U-17 National Team and again in 2002 for his performance at the El Dorado Secondary School and both honors are certainly an indication of his hard work and drive.
Terrence mentions that he considers one of his strengths to be his good distribution of the ball and his positive team attitude.
"I believe we all may be stronger in some areas than others," Terrence states. "My strength is my defensive qualities, while others might be stronger offensively, I believe in making plays that allow my teammates to get in a position to score goals."
Off the soccer field, Terrence enjoys music and movies that embody his vigor and energy. Fast-paced movies like "Face Off," adrenaline-fueled video games and music by Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit get him geared up for game time.
But Terrence still values the quieter moments in life.
"The first thing I do after waking up is take time for a silent prayer," he says. "I like to run a couple of miles while listening to music to help me relax during the day."
Terrence uses these times to refuel, and find focus before giving it his all at every game, where Terrence also finds the fans as a source of energy and revitalization.
"My favorite city that I played in was Rio, Brazil," he says. "The city was so vibrant and the soccer fans were so intense and supportive of their team."
Surely he will get a boost from the Green Army and the enthusiastic City Stars Fans.