The Impact punches up it offence with Nikola Budalic

The Kitchener native will be taking part in his second A-League season in 2004, after a stint in Sweden last year with the first-division Orebro Sportklubb Fotboll club. Following the 2002 season, he was proclaimed A-League Rookie of the Year after scoring 12 goals and collecting one assist with the Toronto Lynx, making him the team’s top scorer and giving him seventh place among the league’s goal-scorers.

"I’m really excited about joining the Impact," said Budalic. "They have been on top of the league for the past couple of years and the entire organization is first-rate."

"We’re very happy to have him with us," said Impact head coach Nick DeSantis. "He’s quick, he has a good left foot and he plays with a lot of intensity. He can play up front or wide, and he will bring us more depth in the attacking end of the field."

Budalic will provide support to the Impact’s offensive trio of Eduardo Sebrango, Mauro Biello and Zé Roberto. Team captain Biello is Montreal’s all-time leading scorer (55 goals, 53 assists and 163 points) and he led the team in scoring last season with a total of seven goals, six assists and 20 points. Sebrango was the Impact’s leading scorer in 2002, setting two club records with a production of 18 goals and 36 points. Zé Roberto tallied 12 goals, nine assists and 33 points over the last two years, good for second place among the team’s scorers in each of the last two seasons.

"I’m looking forward to playing in Montreal," added Budalic. "I hope to bring even more attacking options to the team."

Midfielder Patrick Leduc will be at the Complexe sportif de l’école secondaire Le Carrefour, in Varennes, Saturday, January 24, to meet soccer fans during the Varennes Soccer Association’s registration. Leduc will be present from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm and will be available for autograph and photo sessions.

On Sunday, January 25, Impact head coach Nick DeSantis will participate in the RDS Celebrity Match with the Canadiens alumni, as part of the activities of La Fête des Neiges. DeSantis will join Claudine Douville, Réjean Houle and Yvon Lambert, among many others, in a friendly boot hockey match-up at Parc Jean-Drapeau’s Place des Nations, at 11:45 am, just before the Montreal Canadiens take the ice for a practice session.



Stéphane Banfi
514-328-3668 (ext. 27)