New Revolution winger Zerka had his eyes on MLS
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — During his extensive career in France and his recent stint in Greece, New England winger Monsef Zerka kept an eye on MLS.
Zerka's interest in the league ensured that it didn't take him very long to act on the Revolution's offer to acquire his services on a free transfer last month.
“I know the championship, the MLS, from the newspaper,” Zerka told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “Sometimes I say, ‘Maybe, one day in my career, I want to play in MLS.’ When I had this option, I said OK.”
This move to America marks the second consecutive transfer outside of France for the French-born Moroccan international midfielder. Zerka played in his native country with AS Nancy and FC Nantes from 1998 to 2010, but he decided to move to Greek side Iraklis in January after he fell out of favor at Nantes.
Zerka, 30, relished the opportunity to expand his horizons with a move to the Greek Super League, but the decision didn't pan out after Iraklis encountered severe financial problems. Iraklis subsequently slipped into the second division in May after the Hellinic Football Federation rejected an appeal to license the side in the Super League for the 2011-12 campaign.
Despite the complications associated with his stay in Greece, Zerka said he held no reservations about plying his trade abroad once again.
“It's a good experience because, all of my career, I played in France,” Zerka said. “It was my first time out of the championship in France. OK, I had some big problems in Greece, but it's good to experience to have some situations like that.”
With Greece now in the rear-view mirror, Zerka has trained his focus solely on helping the Revs during the waning stages of the campaign. New England boss Steve Nicol said he expects to use the versatile attacker on the flanks, an area where Zerka said he has featured frequently during the past few seasons.
If all goes according to plan, Zerka will settle in to his new surroundings before next Wednesday's visit to Philadelphia and spark his new team toward the postseason.
“I have come here to help the team play in the playoffs,” Zerka said.