AMSTERDAM — Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona standout Bryan Gerzicich says he spurned a handful of enticing free-agent options to remain with the Israeli champs because the club has become like a home to him.
A week before his contract was set to expire at the end of June, the 28-year-old inked a one-year extension. After a season which saw the defensive midfielder help Hapoel earn their first Ligat Ha'Al crown, Gerzicich was sought by clubs in Argentina, Germany and Russia.
"I am happy to stay at this club," Gerzicich told MLSsoccer.com. "I know my teammates and the people [at Hapoel] are very good."
The Los Angeles-born, Argentina-raised midfielder is also eager to enjoy one of the great spoils of winning the title, namely their Champions League berth. Hapoel will get their tourney feet wet with a July 17 visit to Slovakian holders FK Zilina, and Gerzicich is counting days to the opening whistle.
"I'm waiting happily and anxiously for that game since the competition is new to us," he said .
Next up for Gerzicich & Co. is a friendly visit from Belgian side Gent on Thursday night.