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San Jose Earthquakes sign forward Benji Kikanovic

NorCal native joins from Reno 1868 FC.

David Calvert/Reno 1868 FC (Courtesy of San Jose Earthquakes)

The San Jose Earthquakes announced Tuesday they’ve signed forward Benji Kikanovic ahead of the 2021 season, on a one-year deal with club options through 2024.

The 21-year-old joins San Jose after a season with Reno 1868 FC, which went out of business this offseason.

“Benji has been on our radar for several years and we’re happy he’ll be joining the first team,” said Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli in a team statement. “He is a player that we thought very highly of in college and we were impressed by his transition to the professional game last year. We’ll create an individualized program for him and believe in his future in MLS.”

Kikanovic, who was born in San Jose and raised in Sacramento, played college soccer at Sacramento State for two seasons and among his honors, was Big West Co-Freshman of the Year in 2018.

In just 488 minutes of action in 2020 for Reno, including five starts, Kikanovic scored two goals. Billed at 6’1, he looks even lankier than that, and looks set to be a project and a rotation option for Matias Almeyda in attack. But we know the Earthquakes scout the local college scene pretty well, and they were hopefully watching Reno last year, too. Kikanovic probably won’t be getting major minutes, but he could be a diamond in the rough if he and the Quakes mesh well, and we’ll see what happens from there.

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