Crew ink Chilean playmaker Mirosevic to multi-year deal

The Columbus Crew have landed a new attacking midfielder for 2012 in the form of Chilean international Milovan Mirosevic.

The club announced on Wednesday that it had signed the 31-year-old to a multi-year deal, pending receipt of his P-1 work visa, bringing a veteran of the professional ranks in Chile to the Columbus midfield in attempts to rebound from an early exit from the 2011 postseason. Per club and league policy, no further terms of the deal were disclosed

“Milo brings a lot of quality and experience,” head coach Robert Warzycha said. “He has represented his country, captained his club, been a top scorer in the Chilean league and played in important matches. He is a good passer, very technical, has good speed and can shoot from distance. We are very happy to be able to incorporate him into our attack.”

Mirosevic has spent the bulk of his career with Chilean team Universidad Católica over the course of two different stints. He’s played with the club since 2008, but also made his professional debut with the team in 1997 and remained there until 2002.

He also played for Racing Club in Argentina from 2003-06, and spent  a season with Beitar Jerusalem in Israel.

But he’s certainly best known for his exploits in Chile, where he helped Universidad Católica win the Copa Chile in 2011. He scored 46 goals over 108 games in his second stint with the club and served as the club’s captain before departing for Major League Soccer. He helped lead the club to four championships during that period – Apertura titles in 2009 and 2011, the 2010 league title (single season competition) and the 2011 Copa. Mirosevic led the league in scoring in 2010 with 19 goals.

Although of Croatian descent, Mirosevic was born in Santiago and has been capped 25 times for the Chilean National team. He last suited up for La Roja in November for FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Paraguay.

He becomes the second former Universidad Católica player to sign with the Crew in the last year, joining defender Sebastian Miránda, who was a vital part of the Columbus back line in 2011.

Emmanuel Ekpo carried the load in the attacking central midfield for the Crew last year, but youngster Dilly Duka also saw time in that spot late in the season. Crew technical director Brian Bliss said shortly after the team lost its Wild Card play-in game to the Colorado Rapids in November that Ekpo, who has appeared in at least 24 games each of the last season for Columbus, was pursuing options in Europe but that contract negotiations were underway for him to stay in MLS.