The Baltimore Blast traded defender Neil Gilbert and midfielder Allen Eller to the Cleveland Force for forwards Joel Bailey and Sipho Sibiya, general manager Kevin Healey announced today.
Bailey had 10 points (eight goals, two assists) for the Force in 18 games this season. The 5-11, 165-pound native of Trinidad made his MISL debut last season, recording 13 points for the Force. He played collegiate soccer at Wheeling Jesuit University, where he was an NSCAA/Adidas Division II All-American after his senior year and the WVIAC Rookie of the Year after his freshman year.
Sibiya, a 33-year old native of Pretoria, South Africa, started his career in 1996-97 with the Edmonton Drillers. The 5-10, 175-pound forward has also played for the Milwaukee Wave and St. Louis Steamers, winning an MISL Championship with the Wave in 2001. He ranked fifth on the Force with 23 points (13 goals and 10 assists) in 30 games this season.
Both players will arrive in Baltimore this week and will play for the Blast Friday night when the team hosts the Force.
"First, we'd like to thank Allen Eller for his contributions to the Blast, on and off the field. We are happy that we were able to move him back to his hometown and we wish him the best of luck," Healey said in a release. "We are very pleased to be able to add Joel and Sipho to our team. Joel has excellent speed and a tremendous amount of upside potential. Sipho is a talented target forward who also brings additional championship experience to our team."
Gilbert, a 10-year veteran of professional indoor soccer, joined the Blast prior to the start of the 2003-04 season after stints in six other cities. Eller, a native of Cleveland, won two MISL Championships with the Blast.
The Blast (13-18, sixth place in the MISL), has eight games remaining in the regular season and needs to move into the fourth spot in order to advance to the 2005 MISL postseason. They will host the Force Friday night.
Originally published March 29, 2005, 4:38 PM EST