The San Jose Earthquakes have signed Argentine attacking midfielder Matias Perez Garcia to a Designated Player contract, pending receipt of his P-1 Visa and international transfer certificate . As is policy for Major League Soccer, terms and conditions of the contract were not released.
The big-money signing comes just as the Quakes seem to be shaking off the rust from their disappointing first half of the season, fielding a team that is playing more a possession style offense. The addition of Perez Garcia, listed at 5'5", will provide head coach Mark Watson with another attacking option via the ground as opposed to through the air.
"We're very excited to sign Matias," said Watson in a statement. "He adds a very experienced, technical attacking quality that will be a great complement to the squad we already have. We look forward to having him join the team."
Perez Garcia made his professional debut in 2002 with Lanus in Argentina. He had stints in Uruguay, France, and Chile in the ensuing years, but his most productive stop was his latest with Club Atletico Tigre of Argentina's Primera Division. In just over two years, the midfielder has racked up 13 goals in 63 appearances for the neighboring Buenos Aires club.
"It's a monumental moment for the club," said Earthquakes general manager John Doyle in a statement. "Matias is a dynamic, attacking player that will create chances for teammates as well as himself. I'm very excited to see the impact that he can have on this league for years to come."
It has been reported in the Argentine media that the Quakes paid Tigre a $2 million transfer fee, which would mark the first time San Jose has ever paid out a fee for the services of an incoming player. Perez Garcia's Designated Player contract with the Quakes would have a salary cap hit of $193,750 for the remainder of the 2014 regular season, according to MLS roster rules, and a figure next season that will likely be determined following the offseason Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations between the players' union and the league.
Perez Garcia arrived in the Bay Area over the weekend and will join the team at training this Friday. As of now, given the uncertain status of his visa and ITC, it is not known whether or not he will be available to face the Seattle Sounders this Saturday at Levi's Stadium.
The 29-year old playmaker joins the Quakes just as the team hopes to make a run at the MLS postseason. The recent line-up changes at forward -- moving Yannick Djalo into a partnership with Chris Wondolowski -- have resulted in more dynamic performances in recent weeks. And though the Earthquakes sit at the foot of the Western Conference, the team still envisions it as a contender to make the MLS Cup playoffs. With Perez Garcia added to the attacking corps, that vision has a much better chance at becoming a reality.
Perez Garcia has been assigned jersey #11, which had formerly been under the care of Mike Fucito. Fucito has been reassigned #19.