This Is The Los Angeles Galaxy: Jovan Kirovski

Jo-Ryan SalazarSenior Analyst IJune 6, 2010

COLUMBUS, OH - MAY 29:  Jovan Kirovski #9 of the Los Angeles Galaxy controls the ball against the Columbus Crew on May 29, 2010 at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

This is Part 12 in a series of articles on the players that make up the 2010 Los Angeles Galaxy.

Pirates wear beards. Pirates travel. Pirates wear beards and travel.

The same can be said of Jovan Kirovski, a well-traveled footballer with years of experience playing in Europe, in Major League Soccer, and for his country. The only difference: Jovan doesn't wear a hook when he takes to the pitch. Nor does he engage in high seas robbery.

All right, those were two big differences.

But you can't dispute this: Standing at an imposing 6-foot-1, Kirovski has proven to be another instrumental part to the success of the Los Angeles Galaxy. With a tall presence in the midfield to go with a superb finish, Kirovski will look to add another trophy to his collection.

Escondido, California is where Jovan Kirovski was brought into the world, on March 18, 1976. With a population of 147,514, Escondido is a major city in the San Diego North County region, and one of the oldest in the county altogether.

Near Escondido is the San Diego Wild Animal Park, showing beasts of burden and endangered wildlife in open habitat. Valley Center, located north of the city, is home to a number of farms and wineries, and the Valley View Casino, operated by the San Pasqual Band of Diegueno Mission Indians. Some of the best avocados in the world can be found in Valley Center.

Stone Brewing Company, known for their Arrogant Bastard Ale, operates in the Quail Hills area of town. For those who want a little peace of mind, the Deer Park Monastery is home to 27 Buddhist monks and nuns and holds a variety of events and retreats.

Famous people from Escondido include "The Big Unit" a.k.a. baseball pitcher Randy Johnson, ESPN broadcaster Sean Salisbury, musician J.J. Cale and MySpace founder Tom Anderson.

Jovan Kirovski began his playing career as a member of Manchester United in 1992, and is the first American to have signed with the Red Devils. In 1996, he led the reserve team in scoring, and could have been a fixture on the first team with a man by the name of David Beckham, but work permit regulations prevented such an opportunity to happen.

Bureaucracy can be as cruel as sport itself. Undeterred, Kirovski signed with Borussia Dortmund, and appeared in 20 matches for the first side. Although he was used sparingly during his time with the Borussians, Kirovski helped energize the atmosphere at Signal Iduna Park (then named the Westfalenstadion) en route to a 3-1 UEFA Champions League Final victory over Juventus in 1997 at Munich's Olympiastadion and a 2-0 Intercontinental Cup victory over Cruzeiro later that year.

He made some more history as the first American player to score in the Champions League, a goal in a 3-0 shutout win over Steaua Bucureşti on October 16, 1996.

(NOTE: the Los Angeles Galaxy web site incorrectly mentioned on Kirovski's profile that his goal came in a 3-0 win over Sparta Prague on 12/10/96. This has been corrected to reflect the results from RSSSF.)

Kirovski also spent time playing for Fortuna Köln, making 23 appearances for the side. After playing in Germany, he had a brief spell at Sporting Lisbon (five appearances) before signing with Crystal Palace. During his time with the Eagles at Selhurst Park, Kirovski scored five goals in 36 appearances.

In 2002, Kirovski wrapped up his time in England with a two-year contract at Birmingham City. However, he was only able to manage 23 appearances for the Blues. In 2004, he began his career as a member of the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Finally, the time spent on the pitch would increase. And with it, his time with the U.S. National Team. While he played three matches for the U-23 national team at the 1996 Summer Olympics, it was his time with the senior national team that Jovan Kirovski is known for. As of April 12, 2010, Kirovski has scored nine goal in 62 appearances for the Stars and Stripes.

In 2004, he scored eight times with the Galaxy to finish second in goals that season for the club. He started 23 of his 24 appearances, playing 1,984 match minutes. (The number is also the author's birth year, but the author digresses.)

Named to the MLS All-Star Team, Kirovski earned his first-ever MLS goal against the New England Revolution on April 3 and added the first assist of his MLS career against the Colorado Rapids on April 17, 2004.

In 2005, he played 24 matches for the Galaxy, scoring four goals and assists apiece. However, Kirovski was denied an opportunity to take part in the MLS Cup celebrations in Frisco as he was traded to the Rapids on September 13.

From 2005 through 2008, Kirovski scored 12 goals in 61 appearances. He was then traded in 2008 to the San Jose Earthquakes, where he made nine appearances. But his season was cut short due to injury. Kirovski could only manage an MLS career-low 154 minutes and one start for the Quakes, who proceeded to trade him back to the Galaxy in November.

In a December friendly against the Oceania All-Stars, Kirovski scored the match's opening goal. It was a nice return to the G's line-up, and it set the stage for an impressive return to fitness.

Last season, Kirovski appeared in 22 matches for Los Angeles, and paced the Galaxy to their 2-0 win over Oiti Trinita of the Japanese J.League in February's Pan-Pacific Championship. He also played all 120 minutes of the 2009 MLS Cup against Real Salt Lake, but saw his penalty kick saved by Nick Rimando.

It was a moment of disappointment whose bad taste was still felt. It's a motivation that drives him to redeem himself this season with the Galaxy.

In a match with the Houston Dynamo on June 5, 2010, Kirovski's brace was evidence that his motivation to win the MLS Cup has never been higher than it is right now.

Avast, ye mateys. Steer clear of Jovan Kirovski, or this pirate will make sure ye walk the plank while yer postseason hopes are still hanging in the balance!


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