Louisville City FC has extended its reach across the state with the signing of 16-year-old Damir Beganovic, a rising high school junior from Bowling Green, Ky., to an academy contract.
Pending league and federation approval, the midfielder Beganovic will be eligible for action with LouCity as the 2020 USL Championship season restarts the weekend of July 11-12.
“Damir’s a fantastic young player,” said LouCity coach John Hackworth. “We feel like he has potential to play at a much higher level. Therefore, we wanted to offer him an academy contract so he could both train and potentially play with the first team.”
That matches expectations of Beganovic, who won a region championship last fall at Warren Central High School. The 2019 all-state selection came up through the BG Elite club.
Beganovic also competed as part of LouCity’s first Academy Cup team from Feb. 14-17, when the squad won two of its three games and he scored a goal in a victory over the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
“My main goal is to get to be a professional with the first team,” Beganovic said. “A lot of people are happy for me, especially my family. They just don’t want me to think because I got an amateur contract that I made it already. They want me to keep going.”
Beganovic joins forward Elijah Wynder and goalkeeper Muamer Ugarak as members of LouCity’s roster with academy deals. Per the USL Academy agreement, these players retain amateur status and NCAA eligibility.
“First and foremost, I want to congratulate Damir and his family for this tremendous opportunity,” said Evan Sutherland, director of BG Elite. “When I moved to Bowling Green four years ago, I told the families that my goal was to help players to develop to the highest level, and our goal was to help develop professional players and one day a national team player.
“Damir’s tireless hard work on and off the field are a testament to his character, his drive and his dreams. On behalf of BG Elite, we are excited to see him take this next step in his life and career.”
Beganovic has traveled back and forth from Bowling Green in recent weeks to train alongside LouCity’s professionals. Later this summer, he plans to move to Louisville and live with a host family.
“He’s someone we have a lot of belief in,” said Mario Sanchez, LouCity’s director of youth development. “Damir has potential to represent the first team as we grow the club and see where it takes him.
“We’re reaching the whole state of Kentucky, not just the Louisville area. We’re interested in giving kids a chance throughout the region. We believe in the kids in our state. We want to help each player reach their potential and hopefully play for the LouCity first team in the future.”
Beganovic will wear No. 45 with LouCity's first team. Sanchez said the new signee is also expected to join LouCity’s Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) U19 roster when play resumes.