Zavagnin's situation nears climax

Kerry Zavagnin, who was called into the recent U.S. national team camp, recently spent two weeks in England on trial with two clubs in its first division -- Sunderland and Coventry City -- after receiving his Irish citizenship three days before departing. Sunderland did not offer a contract, but Coventry is still in contact with Zavagnin despite reports to the contrary.

"It's been an incredibly stressful two months," said the former Kansas City Wizards' midfielder, chosen to the MLS's Best XI side in 2004.

"I had a very good week at Sunderland. I enjoyed the players, and I enjoyed [head coach] Mick McCarthy. By the end of the week, I thought there was a possibility that I would have an opportunity to stay there. The feedback I got from him was that it would be difficult to bring me in, not having had any experience in that league, with them fighting for promotion. His words were that he may have to bring in a player of lesser ability that's played in the league before.

"But the way that I look at it is that he didn't feel that I was good enough to help them to promotion. It was a good experience, something that I felt good about doing, and I continued on to Coventry."

Having made the decision to return to his Kansas City home after his spell with Coventry, Zavagnin is near a decision on his future playing the sport he loves.

"After having gone to Coventry, another week in which I performed well, [I had] a lot of teams that wanted to have a look at me. I guess at the end of the day, I could continue on going from club to club, but I need to get on with playing. I need to make a decision about my future, that's what it's coming to."

It is still possible that Zavagnin could return to the Wizards for a fifth season, a result that would please the Wizards' faithful who would love to see Zavagnin put on the Carolina blue again.

But the Wizards have some new options as they begin to lay out their on-field scheme.

The addition of the versatile Sasha Victorine, obtained in a draft day trade with the Los Angeles Galaxy, and drafting highly-regarded Trinidad and Tobago native forward Scott Sealy, makes for a more competitive battle for the coveted starting XI.

"On a continuous basis I've talked with the Wizards. I've tried to be as honest as possible. I think that's the way to be. They've been good about it, and I understand their need to move on," said Zavagnin. "I think we have handled it, from both sides, in an honest and mature way. The fact that I've continued to talk to them just speaks about how we've had open communication, not only this year, but over the years."

However, Zavagnin's cloudy status and the Wizards' roster for 2005 will be cleared soon as Kansas City prepares for the MLS season and the March 9 meeting with Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa at Arrowhead Stadium in the first leg of the 2005 CONCACAF Champions Cup.

"The people closest to me know what's going on, and I've kept them well-informed. I'd like to keep it that way until I make a decision," said Zavagnin.

Robert Rusert is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.