TRIO OF SIGNINGS JOIN HAILSTORM FC AHEAD OF INAUGURAL SEASON
WINDSOR, Colo. – Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC today announced a trio of promising youngsters in former US Men’s National Team U-19 goalkeeper Johan Peñaranda, one-time Partizan Belgrade starlet Stefan Lukic and explosive Haitian midfielder Jerry Desdunes all pending league and federation approval.
“I’m extremely delighted to add these three to the inaugural Hailstorm FC roster,” said Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC head coach Éamon Zayed. “They epitomize what we’re looking for here in Northern Colorado. All three are young, with bags of potential to fulfill, and have the ambition to prove themselves in USL by helping Hailstorm win a championship.”
Johan Peñaranda, a 22-year-old who is most recently a member of Municipal Santa Ana’s squad in Costa Rica, graduated from Florida International University, where he recorded 38 saves with two shutouts, and had a 0.96 goals allowed average across seven games during the 2021 spring season. Prior to that he played at the University of Pittsburgh, where the 6-0 shot stopper helped the team win its first ACC regular season title in 35 years in his first year, and shut out No. 1 Virginia in his second season.
Peñaranda started out at the Blau Weiss Gottschee academy, a team in the US Soccer Development Academy system that produced the likes of US Men’s National Team forward Timothy Weah and a number of MLS and USL players. From there he joined New York City FC’s academy, and it was as a member of the NYCFC academy where he won the 2017 Generation Adidas Cup and earned the Golden Glove award, then won the 2018 US Soccer Development Academy championship. The top prospect from the state of New York, Peñaranda also played with the USMNT at the U-14 and U-19 levels and made his international debut for the U-19 team in a friendly against Jamaica’s U-20 side.
“Johan is an extremely exciting young goalkeeper with loads of potential who we expect big things from in the future,” said Zayed. “Again, as with many of our Hailstorm signings, he is a player with bags of potential and it’s on us to help him realize that. I expect Johan to give Thomas Olsen competition from day one.”
“I am very happy to take the next step in my career and join Hailstorm FC for their inaugural season,” said Peñaranda. “Being a part of a club’s history in this way is something I take a lot of pride in. I can’t wait to meet my teammates in Northern Colorado and work together to make 2022 a title-winning season!”
Stefan Lukic, a midfielder from Suljam, Serbia, came up through the ranks at Partizan Belgrade, and as a teen was linked to Barcelona, Inter, Chelsea, and Everton. He opted to attend college in the United States, and left Belgrade for Bartlesville, Okla., to attend Oklahoma Wesleyan University. Lukic earned NAIA First-Team All-America honors every year between 2018 and 2021, was the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference MVP four times, was the 2019 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Player of the Year, and scored 24 goals and added 43 assists in 38 starts. In 2020 he led OKWU to the NAIA championship game.
“Stefan is an extremely exciting left-footed technical player from Serbia,” said Zayed. “He’s shown what he can bring at the college level, he’s had experience in the Partizan Belgrade academy—which is of a high, high level. I expect him to take to USL like a duck to water. It wouldn’t surprise me if Stefan is playing in MLS in a few years. He has that kind of ability.”
Following his graduation from OKWU, Lukic spent 2019-2020 with Corpus Christi FC in USL League Two, where he scored seven goals and helped lead the team to the conference quarterfinals for the first time in history.
“I am very thankful and excited for the opportunity to join Hailstorm FC,” said Lukic. “I’m looking forward to being the best version of myself and help the team be the best it can possibly be.”
Jerry Desdunes, 20, is a playmaking midfielder from Leogane, Haiti, who holds US residency and so does not count against Hailstorm FC’s foreign player limit. Desdunes made 18 appearances with San Diego 1904 FC (now Albion San Diego) during the 2021 NISA season, starting 14 matches and playing 1,279 minutes.
“Jerry is an explosive, dynamic winger who can also play as a 10,” said Zayed. “As soon as he came onto our radar, we knew he was a player that fit our profile in wide positions. At only 20 years of age, his future is extremely bright. He’s dynamic, pacey, shows a lot of bravery in how he plays, and has the ambition to go all the way to the very top. He has the potential to explode on the USL League One scene this year.”
Desdunes also spent the summer of 2021 playing with Peachtree City MOBA of USL League Two, where he scored six goals in 14 appearances.
“I am truly excited to join Hailstorm FC and proud to be part of the club’s inaugural season,” said Desdunes. “I can’t wait to get to Northern Colorado and work hard to bring a championship to the club and the community.”
Pulled from www.uslleagueone.com