New York Red Bulls Academy graduate, Ismar Tandir, is still a few weeks shy of his 21st birthday, but he has seen quite a lot of the world already. Tandir was a prolific striker for the RBNY academy, but left the club without being offered a contract. He moved to Sochaux in France, enjoyed a high-scoring time with the club's reserve team, but moved on when the club was relegated from Ligue 1 and forced to re-evalute its financial commitments.
There followed a brief, disappointing stint back in the USA with USL's Sacramento Republic. From California, Tandir moved to Iceland, where he found first-team opportunities with Breidablik limited, despite a promising pre-season. By the end of 2015, the 6' 5" forward had moved to Spain, relishing the opportunity to test himself with Deportivo Aragon - Real Zaragoza's reserve team.
But that proved another career cul-de-sac. The player explained to Aaron Bauer (once an OaM contributor, still RBNY-connected, and also your best source for Olympics news) that he'd been kept off the pitch in Spain by paperwork issues. Without any guarantee those administrative problems would not continue to stall his development, Tandir sought other opportunities, landing with FK Javor Ivanjica in the Serbian SuperLeague.
As he told Bauer, Tandir's reasoning was simple: "It was best for me at this young age to try and get minutes at a top-level league."
And so far, so good. About a week after signing a three-year deal, Tandir was in the match-day squad for his new team's opening league game on July 23 - and made a late appearance off the bench to log his first competitive minutes for his new club at the very first opportunity. Javor Ivanjica fought back from two goals down to secure a 2-2 tie on the road against Radnik Surdulica. The club will play its home-opener for the new season against Novi Pazar on July 30.
OaM wishes Tandir - part of the same RBNY Academy cohort as Alex Muyl, Matt Miazga, and Amando Moreno - all the best with the latest chapter of his career. Thanks for the update, Izzy.