Despite having other opportunities, Ismar Tandir took a chance moving to Spain.
Tandir told Once a Metro that he "needed a change," after a stint with Breiðablik UBK in Iceland. His contract in Spain is with Deportivo Aragón, Zaragoza's B team, who are looking to gain promotion out of the fourth division in Spain following last season's relegation.
Having just turned 20 and having limited first team opportunities in Iceland, Tandir surveyed his offers. After receiving numerous chances from "smaller leagues" around Europe, the young striker decided to bet on himself and move to Zaragoza in hopes of breaking into the first team eventually.
"A well known agency out of Spain approached me with the offer and this great opportunity doesn't come around often," Tandir said to OaM.
"I discussed it with my family and decided to take the opportunity. It was a massive step and the biggest in my career this far."
Deportivo Aragón currently are in second of Group 17 of the Spanish Tercera Division with 11 wins, four draws, and zero losses. They are level on points with CD Teruel, but trail the club in goal differential. If Deportivo win their group, they will face a two-legged playoff to earn promotion back to the Segunda Division B. If the club fails in that playoff or finished 2nd-4th in their group, they will have to navigate three rounds of two-legged playoffs to earn promotion.
Although Tandir hopes to get regular playing time for the reserve team, "the plan is to break into the 1st team of course with Ranko Popovic, a Yugoslavian coach that comes from the same area my family is from," he tells OaM.
"I also train with the A team, which is an honor to be part of a great respected organization with a rich history."
When speaking to OaM in April, Tandir said that he was never contacted by the New York Red Bulls about possibly joining their USL reserve team NYRB II. That has changed.
In his young, post-RBNY career Tandir has had stops in France (FC Sochaux), California (Sacremento Republic), Iceland (Breiðablik), and now Spain.
Tandir said that NYRB II manager John Wolyniec reached out to the young-striker, although it is unclear if the communication was to try and bring Tandir back into the RBNY family.
"I have a lot of respect for him and he has helped and guided me; I want to thank him," Tandir added.
In Iceland, Tandir says that the "lifestyle was great," and he grew as a player, especially in learning how to conduct himself in the pro-game. He cites growth in "[playing] under pressure and still being able to maintain my concentration while playing under very difficult inclement weather conditions," as his biggest gains from Breiðablik.
Tandir made just seven appearances in the pre-season cup tournament the Lengjubikarinn and the Úrvalsdeild (the Icelandic league). For now he just wants to keep his career moving forward and continue his efforts to improve at every stop.