Dejan Jakovic is available to make his Lights FC debut on Saturday at Cashman Field when Las Vegas hosts Orange County SC.
Las Vegas (NV.) -- Las Vegas Lights FC added an experienced piece that will be an immediate contributor in the back line, as Canadian National Team member Dejan Jakovic joined the roster via loan from MLS leaders Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC). Jakovic is eligible to play for Lights FC immediately.
“We’re thankful to get him to be a part of our team, he brings poise and experience and he’s still one hell of a soccer player,” said Lights FC manager Eric Wynalda. “One of the things that you have concerns about when you get an experienced guy is the speed aspect. That’s not an issue with Dejan, he still has a step and will clearly help us in the air. We couldn't be more thrilled to be a part of this team right now.”
Born in Karlovac, Croatia, Dejan moved to Toronto when he was six years old. After being a part of the Canadian National Youth Program, he enrolled in the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he played his full collegiate eligibility of four years. Early in his career he joined Serbian SuperLiga giants Red Star Belgrade.
In 2009 he returned to North America by signing with Major League Soccer's D.C. United, playing with the club during 5 seasons where he played in a total of 98 MLS games. After a successful run with the Black-and-Red that included winning the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2013, Dejan was transferred to Shimizu S-Pulse of the J.League (Japanese top tier professional league) where he was a part of their roster for 3 years.
After spending 2017 with the New York Cosmos, Jakovic was announced as part of LAFC's roster for their inaugural season as an MLS franchise. He was featured in a total of 15 league matches with Los Angeles, including 13 as a starter. LAFC re-signed him on January 16, 2019.
Dejan Jakovic earned his Canada National Team senior debut in a win over Martinique on January 30, 2008. He has been called up by the Canadian side each year since, including appearances at the 2009, 2015 and 2017 Gold Cups, plus five FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Lights FC manager Eric Wynalda is excited to coach Jakovic after following his career with D.C. United, the Canadian National Team and LAFC.
"It's awesome, I'm very happy to be here and very glad to join this talented group of players to hopefully pick up some wins", said Jakovic after practicing with Lights FC for the first time. "I've been around for a while, I have a ton of experience abroad and in the MLS. I'm going to bring leadership and hopefully not concede any goals. We need to be compact, not just defensively in the back four, but the whole team.”
Jakovic's arrival strengthens the center back position for Las Vegas, joining Javan Torre and Gabe Robinson who have been starters for the team in that position for 13 and 12 USL Championship games, respectively.
"We're dealing with a guy who has been the captain of his country, who plays a position which is one that sees the game well, orchestrates from the back, he’s essentially a coach on the field,” stated Wynalda. “When you're dealing with younger players who need help, need guidance, there's not a whole lot you can do with when the game starts and you’re on the sidelines. But there's a lot that you get from a guy with Jakovic’s quality and his experience, especially when he’s standing right next to them.”
Dejan Jakovic joined Lights FC's training sessions and will be available for team manager Eric Wynalda as Las Vegas starts a two-game homestand on Saturday, June 8 against Orange County SC. The "Summer of Soccer" kicks off with this match, where ticket prices start at just $10 for Lights FC home games through August 24th. Tickets can be purchased both online at LightsFC.com/Tix and by calling 702-728-GOAL. The best ticket prices for Lights FC home matches can be found at every La Bonita Supermarket in Las Vegas.