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January 26, 2017
Revolution defender a big Beckham fan

By Frank Dell'Apa
Soccer News Net Contributing Editor

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Antonio Mlinar Delamea has been interested in MLS since the days of David Beckham. This week, Delamea got to follow the path of his favorite player, signing with the New England Revolution.

“I want a new challenge,” Delamea said after practice Thursday. “I’ve played all my life in Slovenia and I wanted to find a new challenge in the USA.”

Delamea, 25, a starting central defender for Olimpija Ljubljana, played in an attacking role until moving into defense as a 14-year-old. Delamea, though, is not a free-kick taker, like his “idol,” Beckham, who played for the LA Galaxy from 2007-13.

“We have good football in Slovenia,” Delamea said. “Many people underestimate us. We are people that have a great heart – we are small but we like the challenge, we like to play against the big teams. Slovenians are known for their big heart and I’m one of them, and I want to show that to all the fans here in New England and Boston, show that the team did not make a mistake to bring me here.”

Revolution coach Jay Heaps was impressed by Delamea’s consistent performances and leadership skills as Olimpija captain, plus his callup to the national team.

“He was ticking off every box, including off the field, what he wants in his career and what he wants to do to help this club,” Heaps said. “We feel like we have someone that fits us. He’s a defender first, he also has the pedigree of being a champion and a leader of his team in Slovenia.”

Delamea made his international debut under coach Srecko Katanec in a 1-1 tie with Poland in November.

The Revolution are expected to announce the signing of another central defender Friday.

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