When Dzenan Catic heard his name called, raw emotion came flowing out in the form of tears.
Those tears came from a long, arduous journey which led him to Major League Soccer – specifically the Philadelphia Union.
The Union selected Catic, a forward from Davenport University, with the 10th pick (31st overall) in the second round of the MLS SuperDraft held Thursday at the Convention Center.
“Once you sit through all those rounds, it’s crazy,” Catic said. “It can be really stressful with the Combine and everything. I had a lot of meetings. I didn’t know how far I’d fall in the draft. I’m just happy because it’s a great city, great people. I’m looking forward to it.”
Catic was a star at NAIA Davenport and was named the NAIA National Player of the Year. He scored an eye-popping 63 goals to go along with 14 assists in two seasons at Davenport.
“Funny story, I went to play in Germany when I was in high school so I lost my NCAA eligibility just like that,” Catic said. “Once I came back, the only place I could play was the NAIA so I went to Davenport. It was close to home and all my buddies played there as well.
“It was tough. Davenport was a good place for me to regain my confidence. That’s exactly what happened. I’m so thankful to them and for their interest in me after I came back from Germany. It was just another opportunity for me to play. That’s it.”
Catic is used to thriving under pressure and overcoming adversity.
“My parents moved to the United States when I was eight years old and I currently live in Michigan with my family,” said Catic, who hails from Jablanica, Bosnia. “My father, mother and sister live in Seattle right now. We’ve lived in Michigan ever since. I’m just grateful to my parents for having the courage to bring my sister and myself to the United States for a better life.”
Catic made the most of every chance on and off the pitch.
On the pitch, he’s proven to be a stellar player.
The next step is to prove his mettle to the Union.
“I think I’m good on the ball,” Catic said. “I’m good technically so I like to play good possession soccer. I like to score goals. Let’s see what happens. I don’t know much (about the club) to be honest. I’m going to learn as much as I can heading into preseason. And take it from there. … It’s overwhelming obviously. I’m so happy to be picked by the Union. I can’t wait to get started. Tears of joy. It’s been a long time coming. I’m happy. I’m excited.
“I’m going to work my butt off. Hopefully, I can play soon and show the city of Philadelphia that I want to win and hopefully, we can bring a championship to the city.”
Catic put in so much work for so long to get to this point. He’s not about to stop now.
“Honestly, they (Union) didn’t think I was going to make it this far in the draft so I’m happy they were interested in me and showed a lot of interest from the start,” Catic said. “I’ve had a lot of ups and downs but everything has been a good life experience for me which has helped make me the player I am today. I’m hoping to use all that to show everyone what I’m about.”
See Catic and the Union this spring in sunny Clearwater! Click the graphic to learn more about our fan weekend!
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at firstname.lastname@example.org