At Hudson River Blue, we have been profiling the players currently on trial with New York City FC. Today, get to know a little more about a forward and midfielder that have been training with the club.
A very exciting and promising player that has been on trial with NYCFC is 23 year old Montenegrin forward Bledi Bardic (seen above in the orange bib trying to win the ball). He recently moved to the USA with aspirations to play professional soccer after spending the past few years playing professionally in his home country. In May 2014, he signed for the season with the New York City based NPSL side Clarkstown SC Eagles. In his time with the team, he turned heads with an impressive 12 goals and 2 assists notched in 9 games played.
The six foot tall forward began training with coach Jason Kreis and David Villa in September 2014, after the NPSL season ended. It is encouraging that Bardic has held Kreis’ eye for the past few months and that he has continued to train with the team, as well as go on to be invited to train with the full team at the first training camp currently taking place in Jacksonville, FL.
The word coming from camp in Florida is that Bardic has been very impressive and a strong performer. It would not be surprising to see him be offered a contract, perhaps with an eye to be one of the four players loaned to USL-PRO partner Wilmington Hammerheads. The roster of forwards already signed with New York City are Villa, Mullins, Taylor, and Shelton. If Bardic is eventually offered a contract, and the rumors from Union Berlin of Adam Nemec also joining are true, it would leave the team with no shortage of forwards to choose from.
Another player that has been training with the team for the past few weeks is Pablo Alvarez, a 34 year old Spanish midfielder (seen in the featured picture, with David Villa). This situation is interesting, because it is very likely that his friendship with David Villa led to him being given an opportunity to go on trial with NYCFC. Alvarez began his senior career with Sporting de Gijón B in 1998, while David Villa started his senior career with the team the following season in 1999. Both Alvarez and Villa then went on to begin playing with Sporting de Gijón, in the Spanish second division, in 2001. Alvarez and Villa played together for a total of four seasons.
Alvarez has been described as a versatile midfielder, but played for most of his career in the wide right position. In recent years, he transitioned to a more central midfield role because it was more accommodating for the lack of speed that he might have had when he was younger. He has spent his entire career in Spain, perhaps most notably with 75 matches played in La Liga with Deportivo. In September 2014, he signed a half-season contract with UP Langreo, in the Spanish second division, which ended at the beginning of the year. He left at the end of his contract as a free agent after making 9 appearances with the team, and has been training with Villa and a few other members of the New York City team for the past month.
He was invited to join the team at training camp in Jacksonville, and if he does enough to impress during his trial, Alvarez could turn out to be an inexpensive veteran player for New York City. It is hard to see where he would get a starting role with the competition in midfield, but if there is room on the roster, his presence could be worth it to help ease Villa’s transition to living in the US in addition to being an experienced back up player.