A day after hinting that they had one more player signing forthcoming, the San Jose Earthquakes announced that the transfer of Albanian midfielder Jahmir Hyka from FC Luzern was official. The 28 year old Albanian international will join the rest of the team at their preseason training camp in Arizona.
"Hyka brings an element of surprise to any team and to any match," said Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli in a statement. "Being a player that is very strong technically, he attacks the defense in one-on-one situations without any indication of which way he will go or the pass that he will be making. This means that our strikers will be well served and the element of surprise will allow us to attack from many fronts."
In 15 appearances so far this season with FC Luzern of the Swiss Super League, Hyka has scored six goals and added three assists. He has 25 goals overall since joining the club in 2011. Hyka is a regular with the Albanian national team and had earned 42 caps with the first team since making his first appearance in 2007.
Hyka has been a preseason target of the Quakes for some time, and his signing completes the teams acquisition goals with a month to go until the 2017 MLS season opener on March 4. The Albanian, along with fellow European signings Danny Hoesen and Florian Jungwirth, joins a pair of Central American standouts Harold Cummings and Marcos Urena signed in January. All but Cummings were signed with the help of Targeted Allocation Money, the league’s mechanism for aiding clubs in bringing in top foreign talent.
“I am really happy that we will put the coach and the team in a position to count on players that can play in several positions and give extra versatility with the signings we have done,” said Fioranelli. “We will be able to draw from several resources, especially in the offensive phase.”
Hyka is expected to be a link between the defensive minded Jungwirth and Cummings and the offensive oriented Urena and Hoesen in the Earthquakes revamped line-up. He’ll compete with current Designated Player Simon Dawkins for a wide midfielder role, but he can also play centrally when required. Above all, the Albania is expected to bring a level of uncertainty in possession that can put opposing defenders on their heels, unlocking goal-scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.
"Jahmir is a creative player that will make us a more dangerous team on the attack," said Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear in a statement. "He can play on both sides of the field and should open up more opportunities for our team to score."
With Jungwirth and Hoesen joining preseason the day prior, and Hyka on his way now that his transaction is complete, the Quakes look as ready as ever to end their four-year MLS postseason drought.