Southern California Sports Desk
Staff Writer, Jacob Jones
Currently, Southern California’s Donald Casey, who was a San Diego ALL-CIF soccer team selection, is on trial with the U19 Junior GNK Dinamo Zagreb team and is training in at the Nogomenta Skola Dinamo at their Maksimir training facility.
GNK Dinamo currently a Europa League team and recently of the UEFA Champions League, is regarded as the best soccer club for developing players. Players such as Luka Modric, Vedran Corluka, and Mateo Kovacic have all come out of the famous Academy, which was recently ranked in the top 5 academies of Europe (LINK).
Casey a 6-2, 180 lbs, center forward, was named to the 2016 San Diego ALL-CIF team as a junior at San Diego High School. He recorded 16 goals and nine (9) assists and earning Eastern League MVP. Also, Casey is two-time San Diego Union-Tribune All-Academic Team Member and holds a 4.2 GPA.
At the beginning of August, Dinamo’s U19 team earned third place at the German Oberndorf international tournament and was second at their own Mladen Rumljak tournament later in the month. Donald has a chance to compare himself to some of the best talents in all of Europe, with Real Madrid, Eintract Fankfurt, and NK Rijeka all competing in the Zagreb based Mladen Rumlack tournament.
During his trial, Casey has been able to train extensively with former Dinamo star, Marko Mlinaric, the most capped player in Dinamo history (613). “Donald has a nose for the goal, hard worker and great team player. He is a game changer for any college coach,” said Dinamo coach Mlinaric, “With his work and experience here at Dinamo, he will be an asset for any college team,” he went on to say.
Leading up to his journey overseas, Casey has been working with John Matich of The Kicking System, a San Diego based soccer academy. Coach Matich, a former youth national team player at the U17 and U20 levels also played in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings as a field goal kicker. “Donald is a true goal scorer with great vision. For him to travel half way around the world and step into a new team at the world’s highest level says a lot about the caliber of player that he is.”
Casey has had the opportunity to watch Dinamo Europe league games and HNL League games, most notably versus HNK Hajduk split. “The experience of living in Zagreb, playing with the top talent in the Europe, and being in a positive and learning environment has opened my eyes on how soccer should be played, I can’t describe how thankful I am to Coach Matich setting up this trail for me,” Casey said.
Later this summer Casey plans to return to the United States to continue his High School career at San Diego HS, in California.
Growing up a Cal South youth soccer player, Donald Casey has always excelled on and off the field.