PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers today announced that the club has signed international defender Dario Zuparic from Croatia’s First Football League side HNK Rijeka to a multi-year contract using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM). Zuparic will be added to the Timbers’ roster, pending a physical and receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and P-1 visa.
“Dario was targeted as a player of interest over a year ago and we are delighted to get a proven defender at a very good age to join the Timbers,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers. “Dario brings a wealth of experience and we believe his playing style, experience and leadership qualities will be very beneficial to the team and we expect him to make a significant impact once he is fully transitioned.”
Zuparic, 27, joined HNK Rijeka at the beginning of the 2017 season, playing in 72 matches (71 starts) between the 2017-18 seasons. He helped the team win the 2016-17 Croatian First Football League and captured the 2016-17 and 2018-19 Croatian Football Cup. In 2019, Zuparic recorded 18 appearances (18 starts) for Rijeka, scoring one goal.
A four-year Italian Serie B veteran, Zuparic made 97 appearances (88 starts) for Pescara (2013-17), helping the team secure promotion to Serie A during the 2015-16 campaign. Zuparic then recorded nine appearances (five starts) with Pescara in Serie A. Prior to joining Pescara, Zuparic made 69 appearances (66 starts) with Croatian side HNK Cibalia (2011-13) after joining the club in 2011.
“We are pleased to add Dario as a proven defender to our roster,” said Giovanni Savarese, head coach of the Timbers. “Dario’s vast experience playing in Europe will be an important asset to strengthen our backline and his winning mentality perfectly aligns with the team’s culture.”
At the international level, Zuparic made three appearances for the U-19 Bosnia and Herzegovina national team and debuted with the Croatian U-21 national team in 2011, recording seven appearances (six starts).
Zuparic will occupy an international slot on the Timbers roster.
Transaction: Portland Timbers acquire defender Dario Zuparic via transfer from Croatian First Football League side HNK Rijeka using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) on Nov. 20, 2019.
Born: May 3, 1992, in Županja, Croatia
Last Club: HNK Rijeka (Croatia)