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Peterlin Stays in England; Agrees to One-Year Deal with Walsall

Peterlin Stays in England; Agrees to One-Year Deal with Walsall

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Former Cal Poly men's soccer midfielder Anton Peterlin, the first Big West Conference player to appear in an English Football League match, resumed his professional career earlier this week after agreeing to a one-year contract with Walsall Football Club. Peterlin had previously served a three-week trial with Walsall, which competes in League One, the third tier of English soccer.

Peterlin, named to the All-Big West first team and NSCAA All-Far West Region team as a senior in 2008, made 12 first team appearances for Plymouth Argyle Football Club in League One last season. Plymouth, however, finished second from bottom in the League One table on 42 points and was relegated to League Two.

Released from Plymouth at the conclusion of last season, Peterlin returned to the United States to visit family and friends. After his agent secured a trial at Walsall, however, Peterlin arrived at the West Midlands club on July 4 and appeared in exhibition matches against English Premier League sides Wolverhampton (July 19) and Aston Villa (July 21). Peterlin was then inked to his current deal on Monday before playing 68 minutes in Walsall's July 26 friendly versus League Two Cheltenham Town. He was awarded the No. 19 shirt on Thursday.

"I feel that my breakout game came versus (Wolverhampton). We lost, 3-2, but I thought I played very, very well and it was a great experience playing against a Premier League side," said Peterlin, who made 61 appearances in three seasons with Cal Poly (2006-08) and helped the Mustangs reach the second round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament. "I see myself fitting in well at Walsall and playing a good role in the middle of park, being creative going forward and a presence going back. Dean Smith (above), the manager at Walsall, is very good and I'm hungry and excited to play for him."

Peterlin originally arrived in England in July 2009 after signing with Everton of the Premier League from American fourth-division side Ventura County Fusion. Peterlin made eight appearances for Everton's reserve team and started four of his final five matches before being released at the conclusion of the 2009-10 season.

A native of San Francisco, Peterlin will have one final chance to impress Walsall management when the Saddlers contest their final preseason match on Saturday, July 30 versus League Two Port Vale.

"Anton has got fitter as time has gone on and I think he can be good for us," Smith was quoted as saying on July 25 in the local Express & Star newspaper. "He finds little pockets in play where he can use the ball – and he uses the ball well. He will be a very useful addition."

Walsall finished last season 20th in the League One table on 48 points, one more than relegated Dagenham & Redbridge. Walsall opens its League One season when hosting Leyton Orient at Banks's Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 6.