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Joe MacCarthy2010-05-12 20:06:49 +0000 #1
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Getting back in the game

Ante Jazic looks to return to form after injury-plagued 2005

By Adam Richardson The Daily News

www.hfxnews.ca/index.cfm?sid=3428&sc=3

Ante Jazic hopes 2006 is a year of change for his professional soccer career.

After an injury-riddled 2005 season, he knows this year can't be any worse.

The Bedford native missed virtually the entire season with his club team, FC Kuban of the Russian First Division, due to a groin operation and several hamstring injuries.

He returned to game action with the Canadian men's soccer team for an international friendly in Luxembourg on Nov. 16.

He started in the 1-0 victory over the tiny European nation, but subbed out in the second half.

"It's always nice to represent your country, and for me, it was just a good feeling to get back into a game," said Jazic, a defender-midfielder.

"As far as club play went, (Kuban) lost a match, which would have promoted us to the top division. That was pretty disappointing."

Jazic still has more than one year left on his contract with Kuban, but is hoping for a transfer to Austria or Croatia. He's played professionally in both countries, most recently with Rapid Vienna of the Austrian league, where he played before joining the Russian club in 2004.

'Wonderful place'

"I'd love to go back (to Austria)," said Jazic. "I had great experiences there, and the standard of living is high. It's a great place to live and a wonderful place to be a professional athlete."

Jazic knows his transfer is in the hands of Kuban. The team can keep him and use him sparingly, but Jazic says it's in the interest of both sides to void the contract.

"I probably don't fit into their plans anymore. Kuban is going with some newer players now, so if I can work something out with another European club, they don't have to pay me and I can get to play elsewhere."

The 29-year-old feels his name still holds value in Austria after his time with Rapid Vienna.

Despite an injury-plagued season, he thinks a club will give him a shot and allow him to play his final professional seasons in a favourable environment.

"As a soccer player, you only have a certain amount of time in your career," said Jazic.

"I want to enjoy my life on and off the field. I don't feel I have anything left to prove to myself as a soccer player."

Begin training

Jazic will head back to Russia later this month, but first he'll gain more international experience with the Canadian team as it plays the United States in San Diego, Calif., on Jan. 22.

Jazic leaves for San Diego today and will begin training with the national side this week.

Now fully healthy and about to pick up his 12th international cap, Jazic hopes he makes an impression on the Canadian brass for future competitions.

"(Head coach Frank) Yallop is trying out some new players, trying to find a good mix for the future," said Jazic, who will be joined in San Diego by Halifax's Stephen Hart, an assistant coach with the team.

"I want to be a part of that, and represent my country whenever they call on me," said Jazic.

THE JAZIC FILE

- From: Bedford

- Position: Defender-midfielder

- Age: 29

- Club: FC Kuban, in the Russian First Division

- Rough Year: Jazic nursed groin and hamstring injuries for most of 2005, keeping him out of action most of the season.

- National pride: Represented Canada in an international friendly against Luxembourg last November, and will suit up against the U.S. in San Diego this month.


Joe MacCarthy2010-05-12 20:11:52 +0000 #2
Tks to Sigma at Vs for headsup

Jazic looks for team closer to home

By Gordie Sutherland Sports Reporter

thechronicleherald.ca/Sports/500483.html



Ante Jazic hopes to land a spot on a Major League Soccer team and is particularly interested in the expansion franchise in Toronto.

(Tim Krochak/Herald File)

Ante Jazic wants his next pro stop to be in North America.

The Bedford soccer player has made his living overseas since 1996, but would like to finish his career closer to home.

Jazic, 30, recently became a free agent after FC Kuban of Russia bought out the remainder of a three-year contract he signed in June 2004. He’d like to land a job with a Major League Soccer team, the top pro league in the United States, and is particularly interested in the expansion Toronto franchise that’s set to start up in January.

"That’s my No.1 priority," said Jazic, who has been home for most of the last month. "I’m going to wait maybe another month or so and hopefully they’ll establish the GM and get their coaching situation sorted out and start finding players. I would like to jump in there right from the start because I’m 30 years old and would like to play my last three or four years in North America.

"That’s my focus."

Jazic played with clubs in Croatia and Austria before moving to Russia where he struggled to get comfortable. The left-foot defender ran into back, groin and hamstring injuries that limited him to about a dozen matches during his time with FC Kuban.

He said he was glad to get out of there.

"I’m sure later on in life, I will look back on it as a good experience," said Jazic, who had groin surgery in November 2004 in Munich, Germany. "But right now it wasn’t the wisest choice I made, but people make mistakes and I made one professionally there. But life goes on."

Jazic said if he has to return to Europe, he would likely go to Croatia or Austria. The former King of Donair senior player won a Croatian championship with Hajduk Split in 2000-01 and later played 3½ seasons with Rapid Vienna of the Austrian League.

He said he’s healthy and hopes to have a job lined up by mid-June.

Staying in North America would make it easier to participate in events and training with Canada’s World Cup side. Jazic has played in 15 international matches with Canada, including World Cup qualifying in 2004, and is off to Sunrise, Fla., on Monday for a week-long camp.

The next big event for Canada is the 2007 Gold Cup.

A home-and-away series versus Jamaica is scheduled to start with a match in Montreal on Sept. 4. The teams will meet in Jamaica on Oct. 8.

Jazic has been a regular with Canada since Frank Yallop replaced Holger Osieck as head coach in January 2004.

Jazic found out last week that he has been selected to speak at the Canadian Soccer Association’s annual general meeting, set for May 12-14 in Niagara Falls, Ont. His role will be to give a player’s perspective on the national program.

"That means I must be getting old," he quipped.

gsutherland@herald.ca
Joe MacCarthy2010-05-12 20:49:28 +0000 #3
Tks to aussoccerfan at Vs for headsup

Jazic has World Cup ambitions for 2010

By Chris Kallan The Daily News

www.hfxnews.ca/index.cfm?sid=6015&sc=3



ANTE-RETIREMENT: Ante Jazic isn’t done playing soccer just yet, and hopes to sign overseas. (Photo: FILE)

Bedford's Ante Jazic will watch next month's World Cup in Germany from a television screen like the rest of us. But in four years, unlike most Canadian soccer enthusiasts, he'll have a shot at actually playing in one.

Jazic, a 30-year-old defender-midfielder, recently returned from a week-long, national mini-camp in Sunrise, Fla., where he was the second oldest from a roster of 16 players. Jazic, a free agent since February after FC Kuban of the Russian First Division bought out the remainder of a three-year contract he signed in June of 2004, remains optimistic he'll still be around to represent Canada at the 2010 World Cup showcase in South Africa.

"It seems like a long way from now, but the time will go quick and I'll be ready if I'm called upon," said Jazic, who sustained groin and hamstring injuries which limited him to about a dozen matches with FC Kuban. "I just got my eyes lasered the other day so I got the whole tuneup, the whole service plan, and I'm just excited to find a new club and start playing again. I'm one hundred per cent ready to go."

Played overseas

Jazic, who previously played pro in Croatia and Austria, but went four years without representing Canada at one point, earned a starting national team spot in a 3-2 exhibition loss to host Finland in October of 2003. He has earned 15 international caps, including a 0-0 draw versus the United States on Jan. 22 and a 2-0 win over Austria on March 1.

Canada failed to qualify for this year's World Cup after earning just five of a possible 18 points from its CONCACAF Stage 2 group which included Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras. Canada made its only World Cup appearance in 1986.

"I have a pretty good relationship with the coaching staff and that's always a positive," said Jazic, a former King of Donair senior player and Dalhousie Tiger who captured national titles with both respective clubs.

"They're leaning towards youth right now, so I just have to make sure I'm one of the guys they want around for experience and leadership."

He'd like Croatia or Austria should he sign with another European club. Closer to home, he's interested in the Major League Soccer expansion Toronto franchise set to begin play in 2007.
Joe MacCarthy2010-05-12 21:18:54 +0000 #4
Tks to Canuck in Boston at Vs for headsup

Jazic plays the waiting game

By Chris Kallan

The Daily News

www.hfxnews.ca/index.cfm?sid=6194&sc=3



Ante up: Bedford’s Ante Jazic has been a free agent since February, but says he could soon hear about a new contract. (Photo: Ryan Taplin)

Bedford's Ante Jazic turned a month-long vacation to visit relatives in Croatia a decade ago into a pro-soccer career. Currently without a contract, however, the 30-year-old is in limbo as he awaits one final deal before hanging up the cleats for good. The Daily News recently spoke to Jazic about the trials and tribulations playing The Beautiful Game.

DAILY NEWS: You experienced a fair share of injuries over the latter stages of your contract with FC Kuban (Russian League). How did you handle the adversity?

ANTE JAZIC: My body just gave out because I had been playing injured and I started taking painkillers to deal with my back, groin and hamstring problems toward the end of 2004. It was just basically wear and tear from over the years. I've done lots of physiotherapy and tried to get my body back in order. Now I feel like I'm 100 per cent ready to go.

DN: You've had laser-eye surgery within the past two weeks. When did you realize you wanted to go this route?

AJ: When I couldn't pass the ball to anyone on my own team (laughs). I've been wearing contacts for the last few years and they bugged me, so since I've been without a club I thought it would be a good time to get the full tuneup. Everything went well. My vision is already better, but it takes up to a month to recover from the procedure. It might get up to 20-20. But I'm happy so far because my vision is much better than it was.

DN: Did you learn anything about yourself while you've been injured?

AJ: It's hard to stay happy and disciplined because injuries are frustrating. It definitely affects your mood. You have to be psychologically strong and I think I've overcome that. I appreciate how hard it is to get to this level so this whole process of trying to get fit has given me a new passion to play. It's the same feeling I had when I started off my career. Now I'll take my time to pick wherever the best situation is for me right now.

DN: You've been a free agent since February. What have you done to try and secure another pro contract?

AJ: I terminated my contract with my Russian club team because I was certain I was going to sign with the MetroStars (Major League Soccer - now called New York Red Bulls). I went down there for a week for contract negotiations and spoke with the coach. He saw me train down in L.A. with the Canadian team and we came to an agreement that I was going to get a payout from my Russian contract and I'd sign down there for the same amount. But the Red Bulls took over the team and offered significantly less money so I turned the contract down and just came home. Now I'm just waiting to hear from my agent if there's any new news. Hopefully I'll have something by the end of this month.

DN: How do MLS teams rank in comparison to the top European clubs?

AJ: Technically, the MLS might be a little behind, but it's an extremely athletic league with a lot of speed and physical ability. Overall, I don't think it's that far behind. I'd love to play for the new Toronto franchise in 2007, if that's an option for me.

DN: You've represented Canada 15 times, but at one point, your dual citizenship could have allowed you to represent Croatia. How satisfied are you with your choice?

AJ: There was talk of possibly playing for Croatia, but that was never finalized. To be honest, I'm pretty happy that didn't happen because I love representing the country where I was born. I cherish every opportunity to play for Canada.

DN: You've actually turned down a few chances to represent Canada in the past. How difficult is that to do?

AJ: I was focusing more on my club career rather than my national team career at the time. I didn't want to leave my club team for two weeks and then lose my spot. Plus, no one wants to fly to a game or a tournament and then sit on the bench and not play. So I gave it a rest for awhile.

DN: Canada is ranked 83rd in the world and hasn't qualified for the World Cup since 1986. How can this country improve its status on the international stage?

AJ: They have to develop a domestic league where players are paid to play because the USL doesn't go far enough. A team like Toronto in the MLS is a step in the right direction and hopefully there'll be more Canadian expansion. This would move the whole national team program forward. We'd have more Canadian players playing locally and not have to fly back from Europe for training camps and exhibitions and tournaments.

DN: What's the best advice you could give to anyone wanting to follow a pro soccer career?

AJ: You need talent to begin with, but that's only a small part of success. Unfortunately, lots of kids don't realize that. You need drive. You need discipline. You need to work your ass off. You need a little bit of luck on your side, and sometimes a lot of luck. It's definitely not a cakewalk because a lot of things have to come together. No matter how good you might think you are, there's someone just as good or better just around the corner. I actually made more money pumping gas at the Petro-Canada while going through university than from the first contract I signed. You have to work your way up from the bottom.

DN: You've been spotted watching a number of Nova Scotia Soccer League Premiership games the last few weeks. What are the chances of you taking a run with Dunbrack where your younger brother (Alan) is a member of the coaching staff?

AJ: If you see me out there at all, you'll know my career is officially over (laughs). Hopefully, not for another four or five years, though.

JAZZY STATS

- NAME: Ante Jazic.

- HOMETOWN: Bedford.

- AGE: 30.

- HEIGHT: Five-foot-11.

- POSITION: Defender-midfielder.

- ALL THOSE YEARS AGO: Played youth soccer with Suburban United ... Captured two provincial titles with Charles P. Allen ... Helped Nova Scotia win bronze at 1993 Canada Games ... Key member for Halifax King of Donair ... Won 1995 national championship with Dalhousie.

- PRO DEBUT: Aug. 17, 1996 - played for NK Hrvatski Dragovoljac of the Crotian national B league.

- PRO CLUBS: NK Hrvatski Dragovoljac, Croatia (1996-99); Hajduk Split, Croatia (1999-01); Rapid Vienna, Austria (2001-04); FC Kuban, Russia (2004-06).

- NATIONAL DEBUT: May 18, 1998 - played at centre midfield for the final 35 minutes in Canada's 1-0 victory over Macedonia at Toronto's Varsity Stadium.

- INTERNATIONAL CAPS: 15.

- DID YOU KNOW?: Rapid Vienna paid a transfer fee of approximately $1 million Cdn to acquire his rights from Hajduk Split in January 2001.

- QUOTE: "I could count the number of goals I've scored on both hands, but they're usually beauties." - Jazic.
Joe MacCarthy2010-05-12 21:11:27 +0000 #5
Tks to Canuck in Boston at Vs for headsup

Bedford’s Jazic finds home in MLS

By GORDIE SUTHERLAND Sports Reporter

thechronicleherald.ca/Sports/512746.html



Canadian national soccer team player Ante Jazic kicks the ball during a workout in Halifax last week. Jazic has signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy of the MLS after several years of pro play in Europe.

(Peter Parsons/Staff)

Soccer player Ante Jazic is back in the game.

Jazic, who hasn’t played a match in almost six months, has found another pro home after agreeing to a contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer.

The 30-year-old from Bedford expects to sign a two-year deal with the Galaxy.

He said he’ll leave for Los Angeles either today or Wednesday.

In going to the Galaxy, Jazic rejoins coach Frank Yallop, who recently left his post with the Canadian national men’s team to take the reins in Los Angeles.

With Yallop at the helm, Jazic saw regular duty with Canada at left back.

"I have to start playing and this is a perfect opportunity for me to get into the MLS and with a coach who knows me well," Jazic said Monday.

Jazic last saw action in January when he competed for Canada in friendlies against the United States and Austria. He hasn’t been in a club atmosphere since dressing for Russia’s FC Kuban in November.

The MLS will mark a new experience for Jazic, who has made his living overseas since 1996.

He considered opportunities in Croatia and Austria, but decided it was better to stay in North America.

"In my heart, I think this is the right decision because I’m 30 years old and would like to play another three or four years," said Jazic, who played with Rapid Vienna of the Austrian League before going to Russia.

"When I come back to Nova Scotia, I’ve already started the groundwork for a soccer school or an academy of some sort. Playing in the MLS gives me more time off — three or four months — which is easier on my body. There are a lot of positives."

The Galaxy, which won the MLS and U.S. Open Cups in 2005, has struggled to a 2-10-3 start this year. Earlier this month, the team brought in Yallop, who guided the San Jose Earthquakes to MLS Cup titles in 2001 and 2003 before returning to Canada.

"They got off to a slow start, but they have a lot of good players," Jazic said of Los Angeles. "Right now, it didn’t help that they had three players at the World Cup. They missed six games.

"Frank knows what it takes to win in the MLS and I am sure he’s going to bring in players or make trades that will make the team better. Obviously nothing happens overnight. But he said the team is young and exciting.

"I’m looking forward to it because the Galaxy is one of the premier clubs in the MLS and just the chance to live in Los Angeles and be a part of that club to start off is wonderful also."

Los Angeles plays its next game on July 1 in Kansas City against the Wizard before returning home to face the New York Red Bulls on July 4.

Jazic said he’s healthy and fit, but concedes it will take time before he’s match sharp again.

He doesn’t know when he’ll make his debut.

"I haven’t really spoken to Frank about that. He just wants me to get down there as quickly as possible when I sign my contract and then we’ll see. I imagine it will be fairly soon."

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