Luka Vucko, a rugged 6-foot, 6-inch, 28-year-old defender from Croatia, has signed with the San Antonio Scorpions FC for the 2013 North American Soccer League (NASL) season that begins April 6.
The sudden retirement of Ryan Cochrane created a need to sign a top-level central defender with firsthand experience in Eastern European soccer,” said Head Coach Tim Hankinson. “Vucko will be a towering presence on the field that will dominate play in the air and physically mark the league’s best strikers.”
The Scorpions’ newest player earned 19 caps for Croatia’s U-21 team between 2004 and 2006. He was called up to the national team by manager Slaven Bilic as a replacement for Dario Knezevic for the May 2010 friendlies against Austria, Wales and Estonia. Vucko will join his new Scorpions teammates for training camp beginning Friday, March 1.
“We think Vucko will enjoy playing in San Antonio and competing for the Scorpions and Soccer for a Cause,” Hankinson added. “I’m excited about our signings and feel confident we’re building a team that will compete for a championship.”
The Scorpions, NASL 2012 regular-season champs, will open the 2013 season on the road April 6 versus the Minnesota Stars FC and play their first home game April 13 against the Tampa Bay Rowdies at new, 8,000-seat Toyota Field on Thousand Oaks Drive near the intersection with Wurzbach Parkway, just west of IH 35 in Northeast San Antonio.
Scorpions season tickets are now on sale, said team President Howard Cornfield. The franchise is unique in that all net profits go to help expand programs and services for the special-needs community through non-profit Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first and only ultra-accessible theme park.
Sensing an opportunity to benefit Morgan’s Wonderland for the long run, San Antonio philanthropist Gordon Hartman three years ago secured an NASL franchise – one rung below Major League Soccer – and launched Soccer for a Cause, a successful campaign to build community support for pro soccer. The Scorpions played their first NASL match April 15, 2012.