DENVER, CO - The Colorado Rapids today increased the club's offensive firepower heading into the 2005 Major League Soccer Playoffs, as the team announced it has acquired forward Jovan Kirovski from the Los Angeles Galaxy in exchange for the Black and Blue's first round draft pick in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft, as well as signed Colombian forward Diego Serna to a multi-year deal.
Kirovski will be available to play with the Black & Blue against DC United this weekend, while Serna will have to wait for his immigration paperwork to clear within the next couple of days in order to be able to play for Fernando Clavijo's squad.
Kirovski played a total of 48 games during his time with the Galaxy, netting 12 goals and recording 6 assists. He originally joined the California club at the beginning of the 2004 season.
A dangerous presence in the attack, Kirovski brings a strong technical base and fits in best either up top or behind a team's forward line. One of the USA's most experienced internationals, he has played with several of the top clubs in Europe, boasting stints at Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund and Sporting Lisbon, among others. He began his professional career in Europe as a 15-year old, joining Manchester United's youth program in 1992.
A member the U.S. National Team since 1994, Kirovski has made 59 international appearances, participating in such prestigious tournaments as FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Copa America, and the CONCACAF Gold Cup, among others. Kirovski boasts nine goals with the full U.S. National Team, ranking him in the top 20 all-time. He made his first international appearance vs. Saudi Arabia in a 2-1 loss on Oct. 19, 1994, in Dhahran. Only a month later, he scored his first goal, the game-winner, vs. Jamaica on Nov. 22, 1994.
A native of Escondido, CA, Kirovski has 10 all-time appearances for the U.S. National Team during World Cup qualifying from 1996-2002. Kirovski played in eight games, making seven starts, in qualifying matches for the 2002 World Cup, helping the team qualify for Korea/Japan. He earned his 50th cap in the team's 3-2 loss against Honduras on Sept. 1, 2001.
In 1996, he scored five goals in his last nine games with the U.S. Olympic Team, including three game-winners, one of them a freekick tally against Tunisia. At the 1996 Gold Cup, Kirovski scored a goal in the USA's 3-0 win in the third-place match against Guatemala. He was also a member of the USA's U.S. Cup '95 championship squad and the '95 Copa America semifinalists.
Diego Serna, who despite an almost two-year hiatus from Major League Soccer, still ranks number 11 on the active goalscorer list in MLS history with his 57 goals during his six years in the league, also ranks number 15 in the league's all time active players assist leaders category with 42 assists.
During his four years with the Miami Fusion, Serna accumulated a total of 52 goals and 36 assists, writing his name in the history books of MLS as the all-time leading scorer for the now-defunct club.
Following an unsuccessful negotiation to play for German Bundesliga club FC Energie Cottbus, Serna was forced to return to Major League Soccer to play for the MetroStars and New England Revolution in 2002, where he netted 2 goals and recorded four assists in the 13 games he played combined for the two clubs.
He then left for the United Arab Emirates following 2002 and returned stateside the after a successful season in the Far East to play for the Galaxy at the end of the 2003 season, appearing in 10 games for the California-based team, netting three goals and recording two assists for Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid.
After his brief return to MLS, the 31-year old striker migrated back to his homeland of Colombia, where he played for different teams, including the former Libertadores Cup Champions Once Caldas as a vital player during their 2005 championship defense run.
After the elimination of Once Caldas from Libertadores Cup contention and the end of the Copa Mustang tournament, the Medellin native signed with club Deportes Quindío, also from the Colombian first division. He played for them during the first three dates of the Colombian first division tournament before joining the Rapids camp on August 8, 2005.
Since Serna had played in MLS more than 12 months ago and his former MLS team (LA Galaxy) did not retain their right of first refusal, he was placed on waivers and made available to all teams before being signed by the Rapids.
The Rapids will next travel to the nation's capital to take on DC United this Saturday, September 17 at 5:30 p.m. MT in a match that will be broadcast live on Altitude Sports & Entertainment, with the Rapids Pregame Show beginning at 5:00pm MT.