2011 Laker soccer star Klute signs Major League Soccer contract
Morrow, GA – After an all-star season in 2011 for the Clayton State men's soccer team, former Laker standout Chris Klute is now making a name for himself at the highest professional levels of American soccer.
Klute, the central defender for the Lakers last year, was recently promoted to the Colorado Rapids in Major League Soccer (MLS) after playing locally for the Atlanta Silverbacks of the North American Soccer League.
"We've had tremendous central defenders over the last decade or so and Chris was one of the best," said head coach Pete Petersen. "I am very happy for him that he has had his breakthrough. He is such an athlete and so fast that with some game experience over the coming months he should turn out as an outstanding defender."
He will be on contract with the Colorado Rapids, who are based in Commerce City, CO, for both the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
"This is the highest level of play a Laker (in the Major Leagues) has ever made, so we are proud to watch him on television!" said Petersen.
Along with Petersen's excitement, Klute 's play has also garnered the praise of coaches in the professional soccer world, as Eric Wynalda, the interim head coach of the Silverbacks compares him to one of the best defenders to play for the U.S. Men's National Team and in Major League Soccer.
"I think he's going to continue to impress," Wynalda said. "When you start comparing him to players, there's a lot of Eddie Pope in him. But Chris Klute is faster than Eddie Pope. I'm looking forward to his future.
"Chris has tremendous speed," Wynalda continued. "He's got great feet for a big guy, very good vision, and an unbelievable engine – he can run for 90 minutes and doesn't seem to be bothered. His link-up play is very good, but his strongest attribute is the fact that he doesn't get beat very often."
A sophomore from Grand Prairie, Texas, Klute transferred to Clayton State from Division I Furman. He was previously a U-17 and U-20 U.S. National Team player and showed that ability on the field for the Lakers in 2011.
Klute played every minute of the Lakers' 18 games at center defender, becoming arguably the top defender in the Peach Belt and one of the best in both the region and the country. He was named to the Daktronics 2011 NCAA Division II All-Southeast Region team.
Peterson added, "He deserves this and there were many people who have been involved with his coming along besides his mom: his friend Warren Creavalle (and family) who is in the MLS as well, his club coach Ray Tomlin, Doug Allison from Furman, his youth national team coaches, Ricardo Montoya of the Silverbacks reserves and Eric Wynalda and his staff from the Silverbacks senior squad for promoting him."
Other Laker Professional Soccer Players
Over the years, a number of former Clayton State soccer players have played professionally both in the United States and abroad. Below is a list of some of those players.
Adrian Drury (England)
Josh Grenier (Germany)
Jamal Geathers (Turkey, USL II)
Tonny Madegwa (Germany)
Hailab Habtom (Sweden)
Chris Mahaffey* (USL I)
Macoumba Kandji* (MLS)
Mike Gustavson* (MLS)
Marijan Babic (Bosnia)
Igor Lukic (Serbia)
Kyle Timm (S Africa)
Alargie Jobe (MISO)
Chris Klute (MLS)
*signed grant in form or attended spring semester before committing.