The San Jose Earthquakes promised changes were coming to the squad in the summer transfer window, and on Thursday they announced one of those additions, with the signing of Georgian midfielder Valeri "Vako" Qazaishvili as a Designated Player.
The 24-year-old joins from Dutch side Vitesse, but spent most of the 2016-17 season on loan with Polish club Legia Warsaw, where he helped them win the Ekstraklasa title. An attacking midfielder, Qazaishvili becomes San Jose's youngest ever DP.
“We were looking for a player, a younger, offensive player, that really excites the fans and has the possibility to stay with us for a long period of time. That’s what we found with Vako,” said Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli in a statement. “We wanted a player that knows how to take on a defender one-on-one, that sees the goal and that also wants to bring a spark to our game.”
Beginning his career in his native country for FC Saburtalo in 2010, he's also featured for Metalurgi Rustavi and Sioni Bulnisi. A Georgian youth international, Qazaishvili has 23 caps for the senior national team and five goals, including a tally in their most recent World Cup qualifier on Jun. 11.
The Earthquakes currently sit in 7th place in the Western Conference, with their next match on Saturday at home against Real Salt Lake (10:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE).