Benji Kikanovic, 22, enters his second season with the Quakes. The young striker jumped from Sacramento State University to San Jose’s former USL Championship affiliate Reno 1868 FC in 2020 before landing with the first team in 2021. He picked up steam late in the season and became one of the team’s most dangerous attacking players. He’ll look to take on an even bigger role in 2022.
How is preseason going so far?
“Preseason is going good. It’s super tough, as always with Matias [Almeyda]. He demands the most out of you. but for the most part, I think everyone is doing well and we’ll be ready for the season.”
You entered last year as a relatively unknown player in his first season with the club. Now you have some experience and games under your belt. Do you feel different in this preseason compared to last year?
“I always feel the same. I know what I can do and I’m super confident in myself. It’s just a matter of going out there and playing my hardest and giving it my all. I know if I do that, the goals and assists and everything else will come. The most important part is that we win.”
What are your personal goals for 2022?
“Score more goals. Goals are always nice. But I think for me, I want us to win more because I don’t know anyone that likes to lose. We need to win.”
What is your number one objective while in Santa Barbara?
“To build chemistry with my teammates. It’s only my second year so I’m still pretty fresh to the team and I’m hoping to learn more about everyone.”
You were signed as a striker but ultimately played more on the wing. Where do you see yourself on the field?
“Wherever I can to help the team. Striker, winger. I know what I can do and I’m confident in my abilities.”