One moment Ismar Tandir was dominating for the New York Red Bulls Academy, the next he is in Iceland.
After not being offered a homegrown contract from the Red Bulls, the 6'5" striker made stops in France and California before landing with current club Breiðablik UBK. He has also featured regularly for the Bosnian U-19 and U-21 national teams, despite holding American citizenship and being born in Germany.
In 2011-12 Tandir scored 10 goals in 28 matches, for the U15/16 Red Bulls Academy team, a season that culminated in a championship. He was also part of the Red Bulls U17/18 team that featured Santiago Castano, Matt Miazga, and Amando Moreno who went 21-1-7, eventually winning the U17/U18 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Finals. During that season Tandir scored 10 goals in 12 games for the Academy.
However, before the Red Bulls won that Academy championship, Tandir transferred to FC Sochaux in France, with the hopes of playing in Ligue 1. He did not have the best of departures with the Red Bulls in 2013, Tandir told Empire of Soccer, saying he was never offered a first team contract.
At Sochaux, he was a prolific scorer for the clubs's youth team, he netted 11 goals in 19 appearances for the French club's "B" team. He scored a hat-trick in the second half of a match against Mulhouse:
Tandir left Sochaux after the 2013-14 season after the club was relegated and a steady paycheck was not necessarily in reach.
"A lot of things changed in the club financially and the coaching staff as well, after the club dropped out of Ligue 1," Tandir told Once a Metro.
"I had some good memories in Sochaux."
After leaving the club, Tandir signed with USL-Pro squad, and 2014 league champion, Sacramento Republic FC with the aim to eventually play for an MLS team.
The stay only lasted a short time.
"I did my month and half, and things didn't go as promised," Tandir said.
"The fan atmosphere in Sacramento was good. My plan was [to play in] MLS. Unfortunately, Sacramento wasn't joining the MLS anytime soon. Therefore, I immediately sought a different and more challenging path."
That path led Tandir to Iceland, where he signed for club Breiðablik UBK in March. So far he's scored a goal in 4 cup appearances and added another during preseason friendlies. The Icelandic league season starts this May, and Tandir says expectations are high for the club that most recently won the league in 2010 and finished second in 2012.
"The season starts May 3 and we play Sunday, April 19th in the semi-finals of the pre-season cup (called the Lengjubikarinn); we plan on going for Europe and winning the league," Tandir said.
"We have a great squad. As you know it takes time to fit in but I'm feeling good with my teammates at the moment. To be honest I've been around the world and Iceland gets as close as it is to America. The weather is a bit different. You never know how it's going to be."
Tandir says he hasn't had a chance to try the local fare and would not name his favorite new food... yet.
The one & only TGI Fridays in Iceland pic.twitter.com/MgFkMTZwJo— Ismar Tandir (Izzy) (@Itandir) March 11, 2015
Newly formed USL reserve club NYRB II never reached out to Tandir, despite signing a few former academy products such as Bolu Akinyode, Dan Bedoya, Dan Metzger, Victor Manosalvas, and Konrad Plewa.
Despite not being offered a homegrown contract, nor a NYRB II contract, Tandir says he speaks to his old teammates at the RBNY academy regularly.
"That team we had will never be forgotten. What we did those years won't be repeated we put the RBNY Academy back on top."