FC Arda Kardzhali

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Arda Kardzhali
FC Arda logo 2018.png
Full nameFootball Club Arda Kardzhali
Nickname(s)Валеканите (The Vallecans)
FoundedAugust 10, 1924; 94 years ago (1924-08-10) as Rodopski Sokol[1]
June 1, 2015; 3 years ago (2015-06-01) (refounded)
GroundArena Arda, Kardzhali
OwnerPSI Group
ChairmanEng. Petar Peshev
ManagerStamen Belchev
LeagueSecond League
2017–18South-East Third League, 1st /promoted/
WebsiteClub website

FC Arda Kardzhali (Bulgarian: ФК Арда Кърджали) is a Bulgarian association football club based in Kardzhali, which competes in the Second League, the second division of Bulgarian football. It was founded on October 13, 1924, as an association football branch of a larger sports society in the town. The club was reestablished in 2015, after its former entity was dissolved.

Named after the Arda river, a tributary of the Maritsa, Arda's home ground is the Arena Arda in Kardzhali, which has a capacity of 15,000 spectators. For the majority of its existence, the club regularly participated in the Second League, with its highest-ever ranking is a second-place finish during the 1955–56 Bulgarian Second League. Arda have also reached the quarter-finals of the Bulgarian Cup once, it happened during the 1959–60 season of the competition.


First Arda team (1924–2013)[edit]

Arda was found on 10 August 1924 under the name Rodopski Sokol, but later took the name Arda, after the Arda River.[2] From 1945 to 1957 the team were named Minyor before getting his name back. In 1956 the team finished second in the B Group, the second league level in Bulgaria, marking their best league position. Arda have also reached the quarter-finals of the Bulgarian Cup in the 1959–60 season of the competition. In 1988 the team finished 3rd in the B Group. The team spend its time in the 2nd and 3rd levels in the Bulgarian football, before being dissolved in 2013 due to financial reasons.

Refounding (2015–2017)[edit]

The team suffered relegation from the V Group in 2013 and didn't compete in any league division until 2015 when they returned to the A Regional Group after reestablishment. In 2016, Arda achieved promotion to the Bulgarian Third League after a successful season and a 3-0 win in the play-off match against Lyubimets.[3]

PSI Group ownership (2017–present)[edit]

In early June 2017, the club was purchased by Bulgarian road construction company PSI Group, in an attempt to develop a Bulgarian football project, inspired by the likes of Ludogorets and Vereya Stara Zagora.[4] Two weeks later, former Levski Sofia player Elin Topuzakov was appointed as head coach and Emil Kremenliev was hired as sporting director.[5] Subsequently, Petar Peshev was elected chairman of the club and was revealed that the new ownership would invest around €1 million in new signings, salaries and infrastructure around the stadium during the following South-East Third League season.[6] All of this led to an amateur double during the 2017-18 season, as Arda successfully won both its group and the Cup of Bulgarian Amateur Football League, resulting in a promotion to the Bulgarian Second League.[7]

After the unsatisfactory results in the first 5 rounds, Elin Topuzakov was released as a manager and Stoycho Stoev was appointed,[8] but on 6 March 2019 Stamen Belchev was appointed as the new manager, after Stoev was signed with the Bulgarian champions Ludogorets Razgrad.[9]


  • Second League:
    • Runners-up (1): 1955–56
    • Third place (1): 1987–88


First-team squad[edit]

As of 22 January 2019[10]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Bulgaria GK Ivan Karadzhov
3 Bulgaria DF Rumen Sandev
6 Bulgaria MF Ivaylo Naydenov (on loan from Levski Sofia)
7 Bulgaria MF Valchan Chanev
9 Bulgaria MF Veselin Marchev
10 Bulgaria FW Ahmed Osman
11 Bulgaria MF Dimitar Zakonov (on loan from Lokomotiv Plovdiv)
12 Bulgaria GK Veselin Ganev
13 Bulgaria DF Arhan Isuf (on loan from Lokomotiv Plovdiv)
14 Slovenia MF Ernest Grvala
15 Brazil MF Lucas Willian
16 Bulgaria FW Petar Hristov
17 Bulgaria MF Ivan Kokonov
No. Position Player
19 Bulgaria FW Eray Karadayi
20 Bulgaria MF Deyan Lozev
21 Bulgaria FW Todor Todorov
22 Bulgaria DF Atanas Krastev
23 Bulgaria GK Mesut Yusuf
25 Bulgaria MF Mitko Plahov
39 Bulgaria FW Dimitar Aleksiev
71 Bulgaria DF Plamen Krumov
73 Bulgaria MF Ventsislav Bengyuzov
77 Bulgaria DF Vasil Dobrev (on loan from Septemvri Sofia)
91 Bulgaria FW Ventsislav Hristov
98 Bulgaria MF Nikolay Dimitrov

For recent transfers, see Transfers summer 2018 and Transfers winter 2018–19.

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
2 Bulgaria DF Milen Stoev (at Pirin Blagoevgrad until 30 June 2019)

Foreign players[edit]

Only one non-EU nationals can be registered and given a squad number for the first team in the Second League. Those non-EU nationals with European ancestry can claim citizenship from the nation their ancestors came from. If a player does not have European ancestry he can claim Bulgarian citizenship after playing in Bulgaria for 5 years.

EU Nationals

EU Nationals (Dual citizenship)

Non-EU Nationals

  • Brazil Lucas Willian


Board of directors[edit]

Position Name Nationality
President Eng. Petar Peshev Bulgaria
Director of Football Vacant
Director of Sports Administration Stanimir Nikolov Bulgaria
Administrator Eray Salif Bulgaria

Current technical body[edit]

Position Name Nationality
Head Coach Stamen Belchev Bulgaria
Assistant Coach Georgi Kamenov Bulgaria
Assistant Coach Tsvetomir Valeriev Bulgaria
Goalkeeper coach Stoyan Kolev Bulgaria
Conditioning Coach Dimo Angelov Bulgaria
Conditioning Coach Ivan Zotev Bulgaria
Conditioning Coach Anton Donchev Bulgaria


League positions[edit]

Bulgarian B Football GroupBulgarian V AFGRegional Amateur Football Groups (Bulgaria)Bulgarian V AFG

Past seasons[edit]

Season League Place W D L GF GA Pts Bulgarian Cup
2015–16 A RFG (IV) 1 7 0 1 45 7 21 not qualified
2016–17 Third League (III) 16 11 6 17 49 69 39 not qualified
2017–18 Third League 1 30 4 0 142 7 94 not qualified
2018–19 Second League (II) Qualified
Green marks a season followed by promotion, red a season followed by relegation.


  1. ^ ФК „Арда” в Кърджали чества 90 години от своето създаване
  2. ^ История на клуба
  3. ^ Арда (Кърджали) се върна в Трета лига
  4. ^ Готви се грандиозен проект в Кърджали, Топузаков и легенда от САЩ '94 поемат клуба
  5. ^ Топузаков потвърди за треньорския пост в Арда Кърджали
  6. ^ Силният човек на новия хит в БГ футбол за плановете на клуба и защо е избрал Топузаков
  7. ^ Драма във Велико Търново! Арда направи дубъл в аматьорския футбол
  8. ^ Арда освободи Топузаков, сериозно име пое отбора
  9. ^ Стамен Белчев пое Арда
  10. ^ "Играчи : Арда". fcarda.bg. Retrieved 3 May 2017.

External links[edit]