The Armada announced today that three local players have been signed from the development squad that was formed after tryouts were held last year. Two of the players, Tommy Krizanonic and Nurdin Hrustic, went to high school in Jacksonville while the third, Nico Zaldana, is from Orlando.
Tommy Krizanovic was born in Croatia, but moved to Jacksonville with his family when he was fourteen. He played at Englewood High School and at several of the top clubs in Jacksonville, including Jacksonville FC. He went to Jacksonville University where he starred all four years. He was drafted by FC Dallas in the fourth round of the MLS Draft and, after some time there, moved back to Jacksonville where he has been playing for Jacksonville United.
Nurdin Hrustic is from Bosnia, but his family moved to Germany when he was five. He played for youth clubs in Germany until 2001, when his family moved to Jacksonville. Nurdin played at Wolfson High School then later played for Jacksonville University. He was called up to train with the U21 Bosnian National Team and played for several teams in Europe before returning to Jacksonville.
Nico Zaldana is a promising player. He has an excellent background, training with FC Dallas and Orlando City. Before that, he was with Feyenoord in Holland for awhile, winning an individual award 2007. Before his time at the Armada, Nico was training with Malaga, in Spain.
All of these players are good additions to the team, although I wouldn’t place any extreme expectations on them.
Nico Zaldana is a bit of an unknown, due to his lack of senior team appearances, but his training background should prove to be vital in his success at this level. He’s young, and there’s always the chance that he’s a great player who just hasn’t caught on with a team yet.
Hrustic will be a solid player in the defense. Every team needs that experienced center back to keep things calm and collected in the defense, and that’s what we’ve got here with Nurdin. He hasn’t played at this level in awhile, though, so it’s impossible to predict how much of an impact, exactly, he’ll have on the field.
Tommy Krizanovic is the perfect man for the job it looks like he’ll have. The team has already signed a top striker, Alhassane Keita, so it would appear that Krizanovic will fall in as the second choice striker. Krizanovic has always had the talent to succeed at this level, he just became a player who fell through the cracks. It happens sometimes. He’ll definitely see the field, and he’ll definitely score. But most of our goal expectations should fall on Keita.
@sportzfrk Right, but the higher expectations should be placed on Keita. Krizanovic is a great option as a second choice striker.
— Flagship Footy (@FlagshipFooty) January 14, 2015
Signing these local players is the first step in owner Mark Frisch’s long-term plan to sign and develop talent from Northeast Florida. The area is filled with talented players already, but there’s no doubt that the launching of Armada FC will push those numbers even higher.
The future for Jacksonville-area soccer is definitely a bright one.