One of the most surprising stories this year in American soccer has been the breakout of Andrija Novakovich while on loan from Reading with SC Telstar. The Wisconsin native is the second leading scorer in the Dutch second tier, and has his club in an unexpected promotional race. Will a USMNT call-up follow?
Few would argue that 2017 was the roughest year in the modern history of American soccer. With that year now over, 2018 is a year when attention will be shifted toward the emerging next generation of players.
Most of the focus is on well-known player like Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Zack Steffen, and Matt Miazga. But one of the most surprising stories has been SC Telstar's Andrija Novakovich, who has been the backbone of the club's race for promotion.
Novakovich, 21, joined SC Telstar prior to the season on loan from his parent club Reading. Prior to the season, Reading's manager Jaap Stam and Novakovich explored the idea of a loan from Holland. In the end, it was the right fit.
"With the Dutch being well known in their development, that is the first thing I thought about before coming here," Novakovich said. "Another thing is Jaap Stam, of course, at Reading. He is Dutch and his staff and technical director all have a Dutch background in football [soccer]. They know everybody over here. He is a legend and is very popular in Holland. I thought it would be good to go to their country when the opportunity came up. I thought it would be good to see how their football is and I thought if I could do well with their football, it'd be good for me that I could show them that."
And as the season enters into its home stretch, it is hard to argue that Novakovich's loan has been anything other than roaring success. Through 28 games, the Muskego, Wisconsin, native has scored 17 goals and added four assists. More importantly, he has his team in fourth place and in the playoff positions for promotion. He has made numerous teams of the week for his league.
Reprinted from the Player Spotlight on American Soccer Now. Click here to read the rest of the article! Special thanks to Mitzi Cemovich for submitting.