The San Jose Earthquakes welcomed new Designated Player Valeri “Vako” Qazaishvili to Avaya Stadium for an introductory press conference with General Manager Jesse Fioranelli on Monday night.
Signing a DP attacker been one of Fioranelli’s major projects since he took over at the start of the season and he is confident that their “intensive scouting” process yielded the right fit for the club in Vako.
“Vako is a player that I have known for three or four years,” Fioranelli said. “He played in a very offensive-minded squad at Vitesse Arnhem, a team that has invested heavily in young players. He left his mark in Holland year after year for several seasons, scoring ten-plus goals on two different occasions. He is a player that is very dynamic, a player that has courage, a player that fits exactly what we were looking for, and that is having the characteristic to want to go there where it hurts.
“He has a sparkle in his eyes.”
Although Vako can play numerous different positions across the attack, Fioranelli billed him as a second-striker. “The best for me is to play behind the striker, number ten, but last year I was playing left wing and in the national team sometimes I also play right wing,” Vako told Quakes Talk.
He appears destined to become the focal point of new coach Chris Leitch’s attack. “When Jesse first called me he told me he wanted to build a team around me,” Vako said. “I will try my best and work hard every day.”
Although Fioranelli said the process of attaining a visa delayed Vako’s arrival, the Georgian international should be ready to play within a few weeks. “As you know, when a player is out of competition you give them a good week, ten days, two weeks of vacation and that is probably the best way for him to come down and start the entire preparation process,” said Fioranelli. “He is at a good spot, in perfect weight in shape, so it will probably take 2-3 weeks for him to be at full speed and we are already integrating him.”
Fioranelli has made a huge impact on the Quakes squad in his short time in San Jose and Vako could be the key component in shaping the squad to his liking.
“I always felt from the moment that I got here that I was a part of a great club,” Fioranelli said. “I will never consider this team my team, but the result of fantastic people working together. Can I identify with this team more and more? Yes. It’s the funnest experience I’ve had in the last ten years. It’s a very special type of team, very alive from the front office upstairs to the coaching staff and players.”
In regard to Vako’s signing, he said that he hopes he will not let the team down because “Vako has made us really excited.”
At the end of the conference, the pair posed for photographers with Vako’s new Quakes kit.
“See that sparkle?” Fioranelli quipped.