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NYCFC’s Jovan Mijatović: Much to Like, With a Few Questions As Well

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Image Credit: City Football Group

The New York City Football Club made it official yesterday with the announcement that forward Jovan Mijatović is signed all the way through the 2028 season with an option for 2029. The 18 year old, who spent the past two seasons with team Red Star of the Serbian SuperLiga has put up a MASSIVELY impressive 8 goals an a pair of assists in just 14 games, including a hat trick in the next to last game of the season back on December 16. Personally I’m like many in that I think this could be a great move for NYCFC to bring a powerhouse goal scorer to the club, and could be another scoring threat alongside Mounsef Bakrar to bring additional offense to a team that scored just 35 goals last season. However I’m not ready to pee all over myself JUST yet on this deal, as I do have a couple questions/thoughts to toss out there:

5 QUESTIONS (and My Thoughts):

1) How Will He Handle Playing At A Higher Level? Too soon to tell. Obviously his numbers give NYCFC fans much to cheer about, as well as being just 18 years old. But a new environment and possible pressures (Talles Magno has entered the chat) could make the transition difficult.

2) Will Playing In Front of Bigger Crowds Affect Him? Ehh not likely. Rajko Mitic is the largest stadium in Serbia and averages roughly 10-12,000 per game so handling 20,000 shouldn’t be an issue. However with NYCFC playing in front of 75,000 in Charlotte’s home opener (they drew 74,867 last home opener) COULD be a bit intimidating for the 18 year old in his first game, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t get much playing time because of it. St. Louis the following week could see more playing time as the attendance was 22,000 on average.

3) What is Expected Of Him? Personally I don’t think THAT much first year. He’s coming into a new environment and as mentioned has a deal through at least 2028 so the team is giving him time to grow. Having said that, I wonder if the fans will be as patient with him. If he struggles first year (even first few games) I think some of the fans will be ready to ship him out immediately. To that I say, give him some time, remember where you were as a teenager, be patient.

4) How Will He Connect With His New Teammates? Probably fairly well. Soccer is a much more nomadic sport than others so players learn to connect quickly in a new environment. Additionally the signing of Strahinja Tanasijevic is looking even better as the 26 year old fellow Serbian has extensive SuperLiga experience (and a bit of out of country playing time also) and might provide a bit of veteran mentorship to Mijatović.

5) What Kind of Numbers Could We Expect? I think 10 goals from him is an absolute win for this year. If I’m right that’s already 4 more than what (team-leading) Gabriel Pereira put up last year in 22 games. Additionally this COULD provide additional strength to Magno who’s skills are best suited as a winger. If Magno doesn’t get moved you could see a rebound year from him for whatever the team decides to do.

I’m jonesed for this season and have a ton of hope/faith for a better year. Having said that, I’ve been burned before with hope for a rebound (looking at you, 2019 NJ Devils) so I’m willing to play a bit of wait and see here with him. I still stand by my belief that this team could land 6th in the East this year which I don’t think any Pidgeon fan would have an issue with and given time, Jovan Mijatovic could be a massive part of what could be an exciting future for the team from NYC.

About the author – Scott Churchson has been an actor in every way for the past 13 years, from BG to stand in to stunts and principal, a sports writer for the past 4 and is one of the people that created Stream Punk Entertainment. He’s married to a veterinarian, has a cat with three working legs, a mother-in-law who just moved in and is just a simple man trying to make his way in the universe.

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