The LA Galaxy announced today that the club has hired Jovan Kirovski to become an assistant coach starting with the 2012 season. Kirovski spent five of his 20 years as a professional player in a Galaxy uniform, including the last three years when he helped the club win the Supporters’ Shield in back-to-back seasons and reach MLS Cup twice, culminating with his first MLS Cup title last season. Kirovski joins Dave Sarachan, Curt Onalfo and Ian Feuer on Bruce Arena’s coaching staff, replacing Gregg Berhalter who left the club in December to become the new head coach of Hammarby in the Swedish Superettan.
“Jovan is a very experienced guy, he knows our club and he knows the way that we do things,” Arena said. “He has prepared himself to get into coaching and I think that it will be a good transition for him and he will be a great addition to our staff.”
“I am excited for the future and I am excited to remain a part of this club,” Kirovski added. “It was a great experience for me to be able to have had the playing career that I did and I am proud with where I have played and what I accomplished, especially the last few years here with the Galaxy, now I am looking forward to this next step of my career with a club that means so much to me.”
A native of Escondido, Calif., Kirovski began his professional soccer career in 1992 when he joined the youth ranks at Manchester United alongside players like David Beckham, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes. After four years with United, Kirovski moved to Germany, signing with Borussia Dortmund and becoming the first American to win the UEFA Champions League in 1997 while also becoming the first American to score a goal in the competition, doing so against Sparta Prague. He would go on to play for fellow German side FC Koln and Sporting Lisbon in Portugal as well as Crystal Palace and Birmingham City in England before heading to the Galaxy and MLS ahead of the start of the 2004 season.
An All-Star for the Galaxy in 2004 when he scored an MLS-career-high eight goals, Kirovski spent the first year and a half of his time in MLS with the Galaxy. He was traded to Colorado in September 2005 and helped the Rapids reach back-to-back Western Conference Championships in 2005 and 2006 before finishing as the club’s top scorer in 2007. He returned to the Galaxy in November 2008 following a short stay with the San Jose Earthquakes and became a key veteran contributor to the club’s renaissance. He played in 56 games over the last three seasons as well as five postseason matches in that time, scoring six goals and adding three assists as the Galaxy re-established themselves as the premier club in Major League Soccer. He finished his MLS career with 30 goals and 13 assists in 174 regular season games.
In addition to his club career, Kirovski, who recently completed the course work for his U.S. Soccer Federation’s “A” coaching license, made 62 appearances with the U.S. National Team, scoring nine times for his country during an 11-year international career. He made his National Team debut in October 1994 and scored his first goal a month later. He helped the U.S. qualify for the World Cup in 1998, 2002 and 2006 while also appearing in the 1995 Copa America, the 1996 and 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cups as well as the 1999 and 2003 FIFA Confederations Cups.
The LA Galaxy opened the 2012 preseason today at The Home Depot Center. The club will play their first official game of 2012 on Wednesday, March 7 when they face Toronto FC in the first leg of their 2011/12 CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal, which will be played at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They will open the 2012 MLS season three days later on Saturday, March 10 when they host RealSaltLake at The Home Depot Center in MLS First Kick 2012, presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods. That game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. (PT) and tickets are on sale now as part of season ticket packages as well as three and six-game plans. For more information about this game or to purchase tickets, please visit the club’s official website at www.lagalaxy.com.