USL: Gilstrap In Limbo As Indian Move Falls Through

Written by Ian Thomson

PITTSBURGH – Hunter Gilstrap expected to be on a plane to India this month to prepare for the inaugural Indian Super League that kicks off on October 12.

Gilstrap had resigned from his fall coaching duties with the University of Pittsburgh men’s soccer program as he looked forward to joining former Spain national team full-back Joan Capdevila and ex-New Zealand head coach Ricki Herbert at the ISL’s NorthEast United F.C.

The 31-year-old goalkeeper now finds himself out of work after the Guwahati-based franchise brought in Greek stopper Alexandros Tzorvas while Gilstrap completed the United Soccer Leagues Pro Division season with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

A 2-1 loss to Arizona United at the weekend confirmed Pittsburgh’s absence from the USL PRO playoffs. It could also signal the end of Gilstrap’s time with the club he has served for the past five seasons.

“I love playing here and I love this place,” Gilstrap told The Soccer Observer after last Saturday’s game at Highmark Stadium. “My contract is up, so we’ll see what the club’s thoughts are for the future.”

Gilstrap signs autographs for Riverhounds fans after what could have been his final game for the USL side last Saturday (Photo: Ian Thomson).
Gilstrap signs autographs for Riverhounds fans after what could have been his final game for the USL side last Saturday (Photo: Ian Thomson).

India’s Super League will feature eight new franchises playing a 14-game regular season running until mid-December with the top four teams qualifying for the playoffs. Cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar is among the league’s ownership groups – a collection that involves Bollywood stars and La Liga champion Atletico Madrid. Alessandro Del Piero, Robert Pires and David Trezeguet are the most prominent players participating in the event.

The Charleston Battery announced last week that its captain, Irish defender Colin Falvey, would miss the USL playoffs after signing a loan agreement to play for Tendulkar’s Kerala Blasters. Uncertainties over the timing of international transfer clearances prompted Gilstrap to delay concluding a deal until Pittsburgh’s season had ended. That pause now appears to have scuppered his hopes of a move.

Gilstrap joined the Pittsburgh Panthers staff ahead of the 2012 college soccer season. His current Riverhounds colleague Ryan Hulings will take over as Joe Luxbacher’s specialist goalkeeping coach while Gilstrap’s immediate concern is to enjoy a rare and unexpected off-season break.

“It’s been a while since I’ve finished a season going into one of these grey areas,” Gilstrap said. “But there’s an excitement that comes with that.

“Things happen for a reason and whatever ends up happening next is going to be okay.”


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