Romeo Jozak, Former Croatian Technical Director Invests in Columbus’ Blast FC Soccer Academy
Croatia’s Romeo Jozak has made a significant investment to become majority owner of Blast FC Soccer Academy, the longest running soccer club in central Ohio. Besides growing the game on the youth level, Jozak who is a highly accomplished soccer coach, also wants to coach professional soccer in the USA.
Romeo Jozak is a name many in the soccer world are familiar with. The former Technical Director of the Croatian Football Federation, Jozak was largely responsible for developing the bulk of Croatia’s 2018 World Cup finalists, including Real Madrid and 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric. For Croatia to make it into the final of the FIFA World Cup was an accomplishment few soccer aficionado expected. Now, Jozak has made another unexpected move in the youth soccer landscape in America — Jozak has made a significant investment and become the majority owner of Columbus’ Blast FC Soccer Academy.
With a passion for the beautiful game few can rival, Jozak has made his mark across the Atlantic and now is focused on growing the game in the USA. With the experience few coaches have earned, Jozak knows how to develop talented youth players into successful professionals, and how to create the environment required to accomplish this.
Jozak will assume the role of CEO and club director, and become responsible for boosting the academy’s development curriculum, improving the coaching staff from both the region and abroad, and exploring opportunities to build a state-of-the-art training facility.
Long-term plan includes building multi-million dollar, state-of-the-start training facility.
“America has very talented youth soccer players,” said Jozak in a recent interview. “I have coached teams against U14 teams from the United States and the American players have been formidable. However, when these youths become a few years older, their teams are less able to successfully challenge international competition. This must and can change.”
Jozak, a PhD in Soccer Science and the author of the official Development Curriculum of the Croatian Football Federation, has worked in almost every role in Croatian football. He began his career in 2000 at Dinamo Zagreb, where he nurtured the potential of future superstars, including Modric, as well as several other World Cup finalists.
“Being able to develop homegrown talent and maximize potential is essential today for professional teams,” said Jozak who has had his eye on a couple of MLS head coaching positions.
From 2010 to 2017, he held various roles with the Croatian Football Federation, including Technical Director. Jozak is also a former lecturer and technical instructor for UEFA, and has served as Head Coach for Polish club side Legia Warszawa S.A. and the Kuwait National Team. He holds a UEFA PRO license.
“I’m excited for this opportunity and look forward to enhancing Blast’s ongoing commitment to training young, passionate players who truly love the game of soccer,” said Jozak.
Lesh Shkreli, who has been with Blast FC since the club’s inception in 1986, will continue to take an active role as Director of Coaching under Jozak’s leadership.
“Blast FC has an incredible history and reputation in the region, and that will not change. In fact, it’s only going to get better. Whether they aspire to play competitive travel and for their high school, or beyond in college and/or professionally, Blast FC will be the go-to premier place for young players to achieve their objective of becoming better soccer players.”
“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Blast FC’s 35th anniversary,” said Shkreli. “We have worked hard to establish ourselves as a leader in the central Ohio soccer community and to continually improve the soccer experience for our players. We feel that the partnership with Romeo and his investment in the club will open doors for our players, their families and coaches, and is the next step in the evolution of Blast FC Soccer Academy.”
Founded in 1986, Blast FC Soccer Academy has guided more than 1,000 young players to collegiate soccer teams across the nation, including 12 Blast players who have continued on to the professional level. The club has won more than 100 State Championships, advanced to the USYS Regional Semifinals six times, the USYS Finals three times and has one Regional Championship. Blast has also competed for the USYS National Championship twice.