Crnkic Rides USA Debut to Nations Games Title

Rapid City FC forward Nermin Crnkic became the first MLIS player to be selected for the USA567 Men's National Team when the roster was announced on April 28. He accompanied the US team to the EMF Nations Games tournament in Galanta, Slovakia. The tournament featured minifootball, a style of 6v6 soccer, similar to indoor soccer except the turfed fields do not have boards.

Crnkic, the first player to sign a contract with the new MLIS last October, led Rapid City FC in goals (19) and points (28) before adding five more points in the playoffs to help the Grand Rapids team win the MLIS championship last month.

Crnkic helped lead the US to its first major minifootball title, clinching the Nations Games trophy on May 8. The US won its group, beating Hungary and Bulgaria by matching 3-1 scores, then slipping by Romania in the semifinal, and Hungary again in the championship. 

The 30-year old had played outdoor soccer in Slovakia previously, but this was his first time playing minifootball. "Going back to Slovakia was something special because I lived there before and played for Slovan Bratislava, so it felt good to be back," Crnkic said.

The victory marked Crnkic's second major title in just over a month. "Winning always feels good but when it’s for the national team it makes it even better," he said. "I was just glad I was part of something special for the national team in minifootball."