UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. — The first-ever Home Grown player signed by the New York Red Bulls has been absent from the team this year, but Giorgi Chirgadze is hopeful of finding a spot on the roster this fall.
The Red Bulls Academy product attended first-team training session on Tuesday at Montclair State University, and while he stood on the sidelines under an umbrella, he hopes to join his former teammates on the field again soon.
“That’s why I’m here, I’m here to talk with coach,” Chirgadze told MLSsoccer.com. “I’d like to come back this year.”
Released in March, Chirgadze termed the reason behind his release “as a personal, family issue” but he has continued to train and play matches with the academy. Due to the fact that he was on the team’s roster last year and signed as a Home Grown player, he is unable to play college soccer because his amateur status is now negated.
Chirgadze was hampered by a hip injury in 2010 that sidelined him through much of the spring and summer, and only returned to training in the fall. Born in the European nation of Georgia, the left winger is a cultured player who currently holds a green card.
“I’ve had it for six years, I hope next year to have my citizenship,” Chirgadze said. “I’d like to play for the national team here, play for the Red Bulls.”
Head coach Hans Backe had high praise for the player last year, citing him as technically strong and built to withstand the rigors of MLS. Two weeks ago, Backe and Chirgadze spoke on the phone and the coach said he was aware that the teenager was eager to rejoin the team.
“Need to talk to the academy coaches before I can make a decision on him coming back,” Backe said.
For now, it is a waiting game for the youngster, who hopes to find success similar to the Red Bulls’ other academy signees who have transitioned to the first team. Juan Agudelo is now a regular with RBNY and the US national team. Matt Kassel, in his first year with as a pro, featured in several league matches and Sacir Hot has played in the US Open Cup and several friendlies with the first team.
“This is what I want to do, I want to be a professional footballer,” Chirgadze said. “I want to be back out there again, on the field.”