At the age of 5, Neven Subotic began his journey to become a professional football player, by moving to Germany with his family. At the age of seven, Subotic was playing for TSV Schwarzenberg, a local football team. After his parents’ stay at Germany was no longer possible, due to VISA issues, the family decided to move to the USA in 1999.
Subotic continued playing football with Sparta Gold and Impact Black youth clubs, in Salt Lake City. He moved to Florida with his family, a decision taken to allow his sister to pursue her Tennis career at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. Neven was training, alone, at the time, in a city that housed the US Under-17 national team.
While training at G. T. Bray Park, he was spotted by Keith Fulk, assistant to the Under-17 team head coach, John Ellinger. Fulk arranged a tryout for Subotic and the Serbian got a place in the residency camp. Not being attached to any club, Subotic began playing for the University of South Florida team.
As part of the Under-17 team, playing in Netherlands, Subotic made his way into Europe, impressing his way to the 1. FSV Mainz 05 team. He began playing in the club’s second team, in Germany’s fourth division.
In 2006-07, Subotic came on as a substitute in the last match of the 2006—07 season. It was the team’s last game of the season and they had already been relegated from the Bundesliga. His debut came against the mighty Bayern Munich.
The team went on to concede just 37 goals in the second division, the following year, and Subotic had played a massive role in this performance. Taking charge of the centre of defence, Subotic was critical in the fight for promotion. Despite losing the fight by 2 points, the season was a success for Subotic on a personal level.
In 2008, Mainz coach Jurgen Klopp got an opportunity to coach Borussia Dortmund and he decided to bring Subotic along.
Subotic became a massive stalwart in the Dortmund defense, grabbing headlines for some fantastic performances throughout the season. Subotic was named alongside Lucio and Philip Lahm as one of the 11 members in the Best XI for the first half of the 2008-09 Bundesliga season.
A regular member of the first team squad, Subotic has cemented his place as one of the top-most defenders playing in the German league today.
At the international level, Subotic was part of the US Under-17 team at the 2005 FIFA Under-17 World Championships in Peru. He played as a sub in all three group stage matches, before playing the full 90 against Holland in the quarterfinals. Subotic also played for the American Under-20 squad but after signing for FSV Mainz, his relationship with the coach deteriorated. A public criticism of Subotic, for showing up late for the Under-20 team, did not go down well with the player.
Subotic had received the option of representing the United States of America, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina at the international level. It was evident, in 2008, that Serbia would be the only team Subotic would look at.
He debuted for Serbia in a 2010 World Cup qualifier against Romania and was incredibly effective, alongside Nemanja Vidic, in helping Serbia qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Despite being one of the key members of the qualifying campaign, Subotic was left out of the starting lineup during the World Cup, where Vidic teamed up with Lukovic. Poor showings in the warm-ups before the world cup had led to this decision. He played a massive role in the game against Germany, showing his awareness of German football and the playing style.
A strong defender with great tactical awareness, Subotic is one of the biggest names in Serbian football today.