CARSON, CA (Friday, February 6, 2004) - The Los Angeles Galaxy have filled the allocation spot received from the retirement of Mauricio Cienfuegos with the signing of U.S. National Team forward Jovan Kirovski. The announcement was made on Friday by Galaxy Vice-President and General Manager Doug Hamilton. Kirovski, a forward by trade, joins the Galaxy after two years with Birmingham City of the English Premier League (EPL). As usual, the financial terms of the MLS contract were withheld, but it is likely that Kirvoski will make around the league maximum.
"I'm very excited to join the L.A. Galaxy, I've been thinking about coming back to play in the U.S. for a long time. Being from Southern California, this is a great opportunity for me to come home and have all of my family and friends around me," said Kirovski in the same press release. "With my style of play, I look forward to being another offensive weapon, to create and score some goals and, hopefully, I can do that. The most important thing is to win games and go on to win the MLS Cup."
The addition of Kirovski is a bit of a surprising move for the Galaxy, considering he does not have that great of a track record when it comes to scoring. He does bring experience from the German and the English top divisions, having played his soccer in Europe since leaving the U.S. as a 15 year old. He has spent time with massive clubs such as Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund and Sporting Lisbon. He famously joined the Manchester United youth program as a 15-year-old in 1992, but never made the full senior squad. The chance for regular first team football was enough to draw him back over the pond.
"We're very pleased to bring Southern California native Jovan Kirovski back to Los Angeles," said Hamilton in a club press release. "He is an experienced international who brings a strong physical presence and the ability to run at people as well as great technical ability to challenge defenders and score goals, which he has demonstrated with his play in some of the top European leagues."
Kirovski has been in and out of the U.S. National Team since 1994. He has a respectable 59 international caps and has taken part in FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Copa America, CONCACAF Gold Cup, and the U.S. Cup.
It is his goal-scoring record that leaves something to be desired. He has scored only nine goals (good enough to rank him in the top 20 all-time - how sad is that). He earned his first cap on Oct. 19, 1994 in a 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia in Dhahran.
"We're thrilled to add Jovan to the Galaxy's growing offensive arsenal," said Galaxy Head Coach Sigi Schmid in the same club release. "He is anxiously awaiting an opportunity to play first team football on a regular basis and is a player that by his performance with the Galaxy can earn his ticket to the World Cup in 2006."
Kirovski started his professional career when he joined Manchester United in 1992, playing with the reserve team. He spent four years with Manchester United, playing with their A and B reserve squads. In August 1996, with first team football the target, he was sold to Borussia Dortmund of the German Bundesliga. For the next two seasons (1996-98), he played in 20 games with Dortmund, scoring his first professional goal for Dortmund in a Champions' League match vs. Sparta Prague in a 3-0 win on Dec. 10, 1996. He won the UEFA Champions League with Borussia Dortmund in 1997 and the 1997 World Club Championship.
He was then loaned to second division club Fortuna Cologne for a season. He scored two goals in 20 appearances then returned to Dortmund for the 1999-2000 season, but failed to make a first team appearance. He joined Portuguese league champion Sporting Lisbon in 2000, but again failed to crack the starting lineup, making five appearances all as a substitute.
In 2001, he moved to England, signing with then first division club Crystal Palace. Kirovski played in 26 games (22 starts - with five goals). His form with Palace earned him a move to Birmingham City (EPL), where he has spent the better part of the last two year, playing in 20-plus games and scoring two goals.
Will Kivovski's European experience be enough to allow him to score regularly (and at will) in the MLS? Certainly, a player of his caliber and background should be able to have a 15 to 20 goal season in MLS. If he does, L.A., along with Carlos Ruiz, will be very hard to beat in 2004.
PLAYER BIO Jovan Kirovski
Date of Birth: March 18, 1976
Birthplace: Escondido, California
International Appearances: 59
International Goals: 9
First Appearance: 10/19/94 vs. Saudi Arabia
First Goal: 11/22/94, vs. Jamaica. Last Club: Birmingham City (England)
Birmingham City (English Premier League: 2002-04), Crystal Palace (English First Division: 2001-2002)
Sporting Lisbon (Spanish Liga: 2000-01)
Fortuna Cologne (German First Division: 1998-99)
Borussia Dortmund (German Bundesliga: 1997-98 and 1999-00)
Manchester United Reserve Team (England: 1992-96)