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Fourteen footballers from four countries have signed a contract with a professional club after appearing in a tournament for unemployed players in Croatia.

Many others are negotiating a deal or are currently on trial.

Player unions in Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia organized a training camp for 65 footballers in their own country before playing each-other in a one-day tournament in Zagreb last week. It is a format that is used by numerous FIFPro member unions, with five tournaments scheduled in July.

Matija Dvornekovic is one of the players who found a new club after training with the team of the Croatian union, HUNS. The 28-year old striker signed with NK Gorica, runner-up in last season’s second division.

“Without this camp, I would have been obliged to train on my own. Finding a club would have been much harder,” the former Under-21 international said.

Dvornekovic’ contract with Albanian premier league side Kukesi ran out on June 30th. After hearing that ninety percent of the players found a club after attending last year’s HUNS training camp, he asked the union if he could join the team.

“It is a complete package: professional staff, training, accommodation, diet. They took care of us both on and off the field.”

“I would recommend it to all players. Training and playing matches make it easier for you to find a club.”

2017 Zagreb Final1 640

Croatia beat Montenegro in the final after penalty shoot-out

The Croatian team won the tournament and Matija Spicic was named best player. He is in talks with a Russian club. “I am delighted with the organization. The atmosphere was great and training was at a high level, similar to what normal professional clubs offer.”

Marko Perkovic spent all ten days in the training camp to regain fitness. “I am happy with the level I reached,” the 25-year-old central defender said. “I proved I could play two 70-minute matches during the tournament.”

Miroslav Kopric spent the last two seasons at Maltese side Birkirkara. “I was happy that I could play a game during the tournament- because I had not played for six months.”

“As I am a goalkeeper, I would have needed to hire a private coach without this training camp. Now I have enjoyed the same preparation as when I would have been with a club.”

Until now, the Montenegrin union noticed that eight of their players signed at a new club, the most of all four unions. One of their strikers, Vule Vujacic, was offered a contract during a friendly match against FC Rad by the Serbian premier league side’s coach.

Eleven other European unions scheduled tournaments. Last week, Bulgaria, Greece, Poland and Romania played in Sofia, Bulgaria. Earlier this week, Austria, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands met in Duisburg, Germany, while the Czech Republic, Portugal and Spain are taking on each other in Prague.

Unions in Denmark, France, Italy, Malta and Switzerland are also organizing training camps and friendly matches for players. In Africa, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe will be playing in Johannesburg next week.

Players with a new team

The following players who played at the tournament in Zagreb have found a new club.

SLO Dejan Djermanovic 295(Name, club, level)

Dominik Picak (NK Dugopolje, 2 )
Matija Dvorneković (NK Gorica, 2)

Nikola Delibasic (FC Mornar, 2)
Marko Djukanovic (FC Decic, 1)
Srdja Kosovic (FC Decic, 1)
Ivan Rackovic (FC Decic, 1)
Nemanja Vlahovic (FC Decic, 1)
Vojkan Visnjic (FC Lovcen, 1)
Vule Vujacic (FC Rad - Serbia, 1)
Uros Djuranovic (FC Dukla – Czech Republic, 1)

Mladen Zivkovic (Radnicki Nis, 1)
Nikola Dimitrijevic (Radnik Surdulica, 1)
Nemanja Zlatkovic

Dejan Djermanovic (Stal Mielec – Poland, 2 (photo))