Jovan Kirovski’s signing by the San Jose Earthquakes went relatively unnoticed it seems, under the radar. Why? He played for Manchester United’s youth team, just like David Beckham. Where’s the love for Jovan Kirovski’s soccer career!
Overall though, not just this trade, but Kirovski’s soccer career in general has been one that’s gone relatively unnoticed, when he should have been a star, especially in the MLS.
Kirovski is a player that always had a swirl of expectations around him that he’s been unable to meet. The hopes were extremely high, yet he never seemed to reach his peak or find the right club. Here’s someone who was the first American to play in the Champions League and has played for some of the best clubs in the world but can’t light up the MLS.
He has another chance now with a club that has a strong history of winning, albeit with a side that’s now more or less in Houston, but he can help re-build that side in San Jose.
The need for Kirovski to assert himself immediately for San Jose is even more crucial, as Kei Kamara will leave to play World Cup qualifiers for Sierra Leone. Kirovski’s been given a golden opportunity to take the spotlight.
The responsibility for maintaining the attack will fall on several players. Newly acquired forward Jovan Kirovski will partner Ryan Johnson up top, while Shea Salinas will take O’Brien’s place on the right side of midfield. Joe Vide will slide into the center of midfield with Ned Grabavoy moving out wide.
For Kirovski and Johnson, the past week has been spent taking a crash course on establishing at least a modicum of cohesion up top. And the initial returns point to a pair whose respective games compliment each other well, with Johnson’s physicality providing an interesting contrast to Kirovski’s touch on the ball.
“It’s great for me, because [Johnson] can go out there and bang around, and I’ll look for that second ball,” said Kirovski. “In training I’ve fed off of him really well.”
I’d love to see Kirovski meet all those old expectations, start swinging in free kicks, have the talk about him playing with Beckham in his youth bubble back up, like maybe he taught Becks a thing or two back in the day. Nah, maybe that’s going too far, but at least see Kirovski establish himself as a forward along the lines of Ching, a former Quake, who consistently scores goals and has the attitude like he’s used to winning and scoring—a true professional.
Or Ante Razov, who’s scored more than 100 goals in the MLS. Sure, Ante has played in a lot more MLS games than Kirovski, but he’s consistently good. Whereas Kirovski, has skated along without doing as much as he’s capable of. I think he’d say the same, it’s in him but he hasn’t shown on the soccer field like he should.
Here’s a list of some of the clubs Kirovski’s played for:
- Manchester United
- Borussia Dortmund
- SC Fortuna Köln (loan)
- Sporting Portugal
- Crystal Palace
- Birmingham City
- Los Angeles Galaxy
- Colorado Rapids
- San Jose Earthquakes
Jovan is the type of player who will coach in the MLS one day, or have some role in the front office, just look at the clubs he’s played for, his experience in world soccer is what many MLS clubs need. Let’s just hope he can finish his career off strong and live up to a few of those expectations. He’s only 32 years of age, he’s still got some playing years left. I think, like most, he’d love go out with an MLS title and be able to raise his head a bit higher when he gets into the coaching ranks.
NEW: Christian Pulisic talks to Jovan Kirovski about making his start at Dortmund, his mom’s season tickets, dunking a basketball and more.
Update: Kirovski is now the Technical Director for the Los Angeles Galaxy.