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Thunder's Gonzalez retires
Minnesota transfers Gibson to Cleveland

Minnesota Thunder News Release - www.mnthunder.com

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

ST PAUL, MN -- The Minnesota Thunder announced today that midfielder Luchi Gonzalez is retiring from professional soccer effective immediately. In other Thunder news, forward Leo Gibson has been transferred to the Cleveland City Stars for an undisclosed transfer fee.

Gibson and Gonzalzez depart under different circumstancesGonzalez spent the 2008 season with the Thunder where he played in 29 matches logging two goals and five assists. In lieu of playing soccer, Gonzalez will be teaching Algebra at Christopher Columbus High School in Miami, Florida and will also coach the boys varsity soccer team.

"I considered retiring last year before I signed at Minnesota, but I am so glad I took the opportunity that Manny Lagos and the Thunder gave me last season,” said Gonzalez. “Making the playoffs was our goal before the season started, and I feel very proud to have played a role for the Thunder in our hunt last year to get into the post season. Retiring was obviously one of the most difficult choices I have made in my professional career. I will always be indebted to the Thunder for giving me the opportunity to wear their shield, and I want to personally thank all coaches, staff, and fans, for always showing warmth and generosity to me and most importantly to my family and making us feel at home in Minnesota at all times."

Gonzalez finishes an elaborate career that has seen him play professionally in Sweden, Peru, and MLS, and the USL. He has had stints with the San Jose Earthquakes, Bodens BK, Sporting Cristal, Colorado Rapids, and Miami FC. The graduate of Southern Methodist University was the Herman Trophy Winner in 2001. In addition, he was the NSCAA/Adidas Division I player of the Year and SMU has officially retired his jersey.

“The entire Thunder organization would like to thank Luchi for his time in Minnesota,” said Thunder head coach Donny Gramenz. “We will miss his leadership and professionalism, but we are excited for him to take this next step in his professional career.”

Gibson heads to new USL-1 side Cleveland after spending the past three seasons with the Thunder, playing in 48 regular season games, logging nine goals and five assists.

Thunder season tickets are now on sale and can be purchased for as little as $65. Fans can choose from flex ticket options that allow the use of any number of tickets for any game, or fans can choose their specific seat for each and every game. In addition, the Thunder’s new Shield Pass allows fans ages 3-18 to attend every single Thunder and Lightning game for just $20 for the season. With over a $200 value, the Shield Pass is the best sports ticket value in the Twin Cities.

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