Chettri signs with Kansas Wizards soccer team


New Delhi : Indian forward Sunil Chettri has signed up with Major League Soccer (MLS) club Kansas City Wizards in the US.

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Team officials said Chhetri had agreed in principle Thursday night to the club’s terms. He awaits the P-1 Visa and the International Transfer Certificate.

Chettri, however, will not be available to play in the Kansas City Wizards opener versus DC United at home Saturday.

“One thing we really like about Sunil is that he’s a crafty player. Technically he’s very sharp, and he’s a guy that has good attacking tendencies,” Wizards Manager Peter Vermes said in a statement.

Chettri said he was excited to play for Kansas City.

“I am very happy and optimistic. I’m looking forward to getting to know my teammates and the city of Kansas City, and I am going to come to training and give my best every day,” said Chettri.

Chettri becomes the eighth Asian and the first Indian to play in MLS. He will also be the first Asian to play for the Kansas City Wizards and the third Indian, after Mohammad Salim and Bhaichung Bhutia, to ply his trade outside of India.

Currently, MLS has representatives from over 55 different countries playing for the 16 clubs.

Chhetri will be the third Indian-born professional athlete currently in American professional team sports.

The others are Pittsburgh Pirates minor-league pitchers Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel.

NFL Linebacker Brandon Chillar of the Green Bay Packers and former NFL wide receiver Sanjay Beach are also of Indian descent.

Chettri had earlier appeared for trials at Coventry City but failed to impress the officials. Indian-owned Queen’s Park Rangers also offered him a contract but Chettri failed to get a work permit due to India’s low FIFA rankings.