Neven Subotic, USF's Champions League Connection

Lars Baron

The pro leagues of Europe called him away, but before he headed to Germany, Subotic was signed to play for George Kiefer's USF soccer team.

One of our sharp readers tipped me off to this one -- there's a former USF athlete on a team headed for the Champions League final. Neven Subotic is a defender on the German side Borussia Dortmund, who held off Real Madrid 4-3 on aggregate to reach the championship match at Wembley later this month.

Subotic has played for Dortmund, a mainstay in the German Bundesliga, since 2008. The 24-year-old has appeared in a total of 146 matches in league play, plus 16 German cup matches and 20 Champions/Europa League matches, tallying 19 times. Dortmund is likely to face its league rival Bayern Munich in the final, which would bring Der Klassikar to the biggest stage in Europe.

Before he headed to Europe, though, Subotic was going to play for George Kiefer and USF. He signed with the Bulls in the spring of 2006 and joined them for their offseason training and exhibitions. But before the 2006 season began, Subotic got a tryout with Mainz 05, a side in the Bundesliga, and when they offered him a contract he left for Germany. He came up from the youth squad to play for the big club in one game in 2006-07, then excelled for Mainz 05 after they had been relegated to Bundesliga 2. When Mainz's coach left for Dortmund in the summer of 2008, he brought Subotic along with him.

In addition to his club career, Subotic also has 33 caps for the Serbian national team. He started two matches at the 2010 World Cup, including a key role in Serbia's 1-0 upset over Germany in group play.

The final of the Champions League will take place in London's Wembley Stadium on Saturday, May 25.

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