Burciaga, Wizards agree on contract

Jose Burciaga Jr. had his best season in 2004.

Photo Credit: 
Allen Kee/MLS/WireImage.com

Kansas City Wizards General
Manager Curt Johnson announced Thursday that defender Jose Burciaga has signed a new multi-year contract to remain in Kansas City. Per team and league policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. Burciaga completed his fourth season with the Wizards and recently graduated from the Project-40 program.

"Jose has been through a lot in a short time," said Johnson, "And to see him return from two knee injuries and play the way he did in 2004 was one of the highlights of our season. He is an exceptional young player and someone we
expect big things from in 2005 and beyond."

Burciaga, 23, enjoyed his finest year as a professional in 2004 appearing in 24 matches, including 21 starts. He registered his first career point with an assist vs. New England on June 2 and scored his first MLS goal at San
Jose on June 26. He also scored the Wizards first goal in the 6th minute of the 2004 MLS Cup Final against D.C. United.

The Duncanville, Texas native returned to form in 2004 after suffering back-to-back season-ending ACL injuries in 2002 and 2003. He was a 1st round draft pick (12th overall) by the Wizards in the 2001 MLS SuperDraft and appeared in just three matches as a 19-year-old rookie. Just one week prior to the start of the 2002 season, Burciaga torn his ACL in his left knee, sidelining him for the entire 2002 MLS season.

After fully recovering from the injury, he entered the 2003 campaign tabbed as the Wizards starting left defender. He showed promise early on, but in just the fourth game of the season, he tore the ACL in his right knee, ending his season yet again.

For the second time in his career, he fully recovered from a devastating injury and earned a spot in the starting lineup as the Wizards left back in 2004. He helped anchor the best defensive unit in MLS last season as the
Wizards allowed a league-low 30 goals on the year and posted a league-high 12 shutouts. He helped the team capture their first U.S. Open Cup Championship in team history and to the second MLS Cup Final in team history.


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