WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2009
Men’s soccer players enjoying professional success overseas
Nurdin Hrustic (right) is one of three players from 2008 team that is playing professionally overseas.
Nurdin Hrustic (right) is one of three players from 2008 team that is playing professionally overseas.
The JU men’s soccer program is hitting the worldwide stage again as former Dolphin Tony Taylor (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) signed a professional contract with G.D. Estoril- Praia in Portugal.

Taylor is the third member from the 2008 team that has signed a pro contract overseas - joining former teammates Nurdin Hrustic and Kristian Lassen who each signed prior to the 2009 JU campaign.

“This is amazing opportunity for Tony and the program,” said JU head coach Mike Johnson. “I knew these guys were pro-quality players. Tony, Nurdin and Kristian are representing the JU name well and will open the door for other players in our program. We wish them the best of luck as we continue to root for them back here in Jacksonville.”

In 2008, Taylor ranked second in goals (six) and points (16) to earn second team all-conference honors and help the Dolphins win the Atlantic Sun Championship. He also scored a goal and recorded an assist in JU’s 4-3 overtime win over Louisville in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Taylor started to show his true potential after the NCAA Tournament as he earned a spot on the USA U-20 men’s national team. While with the US team, he scored a goal in the win at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship that secured the squad a spot into the 2009U-20 World Cup in Egypt. Taylor started every game for the US team at the World Cup, including recording a goal and an assist in the win over Cameroon.

Hrustic, who was named second team all-conference in 2008, is currently playing for the Bochum-German Bundesliga in Germany. He has appeared in four games for the squad in 2009. As a Dolphin, Hrustic appeared in all 20 matches on the back line and tallied one goal.

Lassen was an all-freshman team selection for the Dolphins last season before signing with the 1st Division Danish Club – ASG Arhaus in his native country of Denmark. As a freshman in 2008, Lassen finished with four goals and an assist in 18 matches during JU’s championship run.

Taylor, Hrustic and Lassen are not the only Dolphins who have had their shot on the professional level over the last few seasons.

Former Dolphin Patrik Werner (2005-06) became the first player to get his foot in the door after signing with the Carlstad United BK in his native country of Sweden. Tommy Krizanovic (2003-06) was the first player in JU and A-Sun history to be selected in the Major League Soccer Draft when he was taken in the fourth round by FC Dallas in 2007.