Former Florida Tech Soccer Star Jan Hlavica Living His Dream Back Home in Czech Republic
By Florida Tech Sports Information // August 30, 2020
Hlavica played for Florida Tech from 2015-17
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Former Florida Tech men’s soccer player Jan Hlavica recently signed a contract with FC Zbrojovka Brno but his success as a professional extends to the world of business as well back home in Czech Republic.
Zbrojovka Brno, which is based in the city of Brno, Moravia, Czech Republic, competes in the Fortuna Liga, the top division of professional soccer in the country.
“My journey to professional football was not a direct one but I have always believed in my abilities,” said Hlavica.
“I can’t wait to play against the top-level teams in the league, including the likes of Slavia Prague or Viktoria Pilsen, who played in the Champions League. It will be great to play in front of the big crowds hopefully soon.”
Hlavica, who hails from Kelc, Czech Republic, played for SK Lisen, a semi-professional club, following his graduation from Florida Tech in December 2017. SK Lisen, which is also based in Brno, Czech Republic was a member of the Czech 3rd Division when he joined.
Hlavica, a center-back, quickly became a team captain after joining the club. He started 15 games during the spring portion of the season in 2018 and helped the team finish third in the league.
Jan Hlavica played three seasons with SK Lisen in the Czech soccer league.
As a semi-pro player for SK Lisen, Hlavica was able to work as well and re-joined a venture capital firm he used to intern for in Spring 2016. He started as an analyst at the company and soon became an associate, managing projects in both partnerships and investments.
“As an associate, I sought out startups with potential to deliver massive returns for our investors and helped build the portfolio companies,” explained Hlavica.
“It was an amazing experience as I got to work with extremely smart people from business, science and tech. I was lucky enough to be personally involved in all phases of the VC process – scouting, investing, building, and exiting.
“I loved it because I got to work with the inspirational founders and some brilliant investors. It was extremely valuable for my future career as I plan to get back to being a venture capitalist after I finish my soccer career.”
In addition to working at the venture capital firm, Hlavica co-founded a personal development startup company called Twiner, which allowed users to interact with and personally experience other people’s lives.
“I actually worked on Twiner in my final semester at Florida Tech and presented it in the Business Plan Research class as my final project,” Hlavica said.
“We put together a team and started working and eventually launched the company. Despite experiencing some troubles, we got back on our feet recently and are finalizing an investment from an angel investor. I hope that together we can build a great service and company.
“However, I have had to step back from Twiner a bit as I need to devote most of my time to soccer but will stay on as an investor and board member.”
At this time, he has also become an angel investor in another startup, Joyspot, a well-being company that aims to help clients live better and more meaningful lives through sophisticated and deeply science-based ways of giving.
“I am very excited about joining Joyspot,” said Hlavica. “I am working as an advisor and investor, but I hope to get back to the industry in a greater capacity sometime soon once my playing days are over,” said Hlavica.
Back on the pitch, Hlavica started 27 games for SK Lisen during the 2018-19 season. He had an impressive year and led the club to a league championship and, as a result, a promotion to the Czech 2nd Division for the first time in team history.
Jan Hlavica served as captain for SK Lisen and helped the club win a league championship and advance to the Czech 2nd Division for the first time in team history.
Despite being a new squad to the 2nd Division in 2019-20, Hlavica and his Lisen squad were able to surprise a lot of opponents and pick up a number of decent results to finish ninth in the league.
Lisen and city rival Zbrojovka Brno even set the mark for highest attendance last season with 9,000 fans buying tickets to the match.
“I felt like I had a superb season with SK Lisen last year,” said Hlavica. “I had confidence and felt ready to make another step in my career.
In July, Zbrojovka Brno activated by buy-out clause, I accepted their offer and transferred to the top division.”
Unfortunately for Hlavica, he sustained a facial injury in the first preseason game with Zbrojovka this August but is excited to rejoin his team once he heals.
“I am hoping to get back on the pitch sometime in September,” he said.
Jan Hlavica recently signed with FC Zbrojovka Brno.
Florida Tech head coach Robin Chan is thrilled about the exceptional career Hlavica has experienced so far in his short time as a professional.
“We are all very proud and excited to see Jan is still progressing in the game and it really is no surprise that he has earned this next opportunity in his soccer career,” said Chan.
Hlavica credits much of his current success in professional soccer and business to his time spent at Florida Tech.
“I am thankful to my coaches, teammates and everyone I met at the university,” Hlavica said. “They helped shape me both as a player and as a person and I will always remember that.”
Florida Tech playing from 2015 to 2017. He started 44 of the 45 games he appeared in for the Panther defense and recorded 12 career points on five goals and two assists.
In 2017, Hlavica was named to the All-SSC Second Team and received CoSIDA Academic All-America Second Team honors. He was named to the SSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll all three years with a 4.0 grade point average.
“Jan was one of those breeds of players that had the extra drive and motivation to succeed, which we all saw every day on and off the field,” Chan stated. “He was a player with a team-first mentality.
He became such a positive character for us within the squad and a big influence on his teammates.
“He gave himself fully to the program and journey here at Florida Tech and built meaningful relationships all across campus. Jan has left a special mark in our program and our campus. We are very proud to have him as one of our alumni and are looking forward to great things from him on the field and in life!”