The additions to local USL side Orange County Blues' roster ahead of the season opener this weekend are coming thick and fast, with the club announcing the addition of two players on Thursday, winger Denzel Slager and midfielder Luka Petricevic.
Slager, 21, is a Dutch-born former Curaçao youth international. Beginning his pro career in the Netherlands with RKC Waalwijk, he played in the Eredivisie in 2012 and 2013, scoring one goal in that span. He then moved to English League One side Coventry City in Jan. 2014, but left the club just over a month later following three appearances, reportedly by mutual consent. In the year since, it appears he hasn't found any other professional club until this deal with the Blues, so this seems to represent a new start for the youngster.
Slager also represented Curaçao at the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, where they lost both of their group stage games. To be fair, the Caribbean island nation isn't exactly a powerhouse in soccer, but who knows, if Slager can find some success here in the U.S., he could be in line for a senior team call-up someday.
Petricevic is the youngest-ever player to sign a professional contract in his native Montenegro, when he signed at 12 with FK Buducnost Podgorica in 2003. He signed for well-known Greek club PAOK in 2010, but did not make any appearances, eventually being loaned out to Greek second division team Agroticos Asteras in 2011-12. He then joined Serbian team FK Jagodina in 2012, and won the Serbian Cup in 2013 with them. But he was loaned out to Montenegrin second division team FK Mogren last year, scoring his only professional goal to date in what appears to be his final appearance for the club in late-November.
Like Slager, Petricevic is a former youth international, having played for the Serbia & Montenegro youth national teams, and after the nations separated, for the Montenegro youth national team up to the U-19 level. The 22-year-old is listed as a midfielder by the Blues, but is listed in some pockets of the internet as a defender. His yellow card record, where he picked one up six games in a row last year, would indicate he's probably seen as a defensive mid, but we'll have to see how he's deployed by Oliver Wyss in Irvine.
The pair will likely be expected to bolster the Blues' talent level, given their European pedigree, alongside another newcomer, midfielder Didier Crettenand, whose signing was announced earlier in the week. The Blues begin their 2015 USL regular season campaign on Saturday, when they host Arizona United SC. We'll see how the new squad will look on the field in that match.
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