New Delhi: Sunil Chhetri became the first Indian footballer to join the United States Major League Soccer after he signed a formal contract with MLS side Kansas City Wizards at the club headquarters.
His contract though is subject to his obtaining P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate, the MLS side said.
"Sunil Chhetri has agreed in principle to terms with Major League Soccer, pending his P-1 Visa and ITC approval. Chhetri will be unavailable to play in the Kansas City Wizards opener versus DC United at home on Saturday," a release said.
"I am really happy to be in KC Wizards. I am proud to be the first Indian playing in the MLS. I think it will take some time for me to settle down. I am quite sure that I will be able to do well here," Chhetri said during a teleconference from the United States with Indian journalists.”
"I have not faced much problem during my trial for the club at Arizona. The facilities are really good and they are not something I used to get everyday back home. I will listen to my coach, coaching staff, team-mates and others and try to understand them. I am going to come to training and give my best everyday," he added.
The 25-year-old Delhi players thanked his former I-League club Dempo and the All India Football Federation for their support in getting to KC Wizards.
"I thank Dempo for their support and they released me for trials here. They were gunning for I-League title and I know they must have felt my absence. I also thank the AIFF for their support in my endeavour to play abroad and in MLS," he said.
KC Wizards Manager Peter Vermes said Chhetri was a technically sound player and was all praise for the Indian for gelling well with his team-mates in a short period.
"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," Vermes, who also took part in the teleconference, said.
"It is difficult for players to just come in and fit into the team. But it was wonderful that Chhetri had easily gelled with the team during trial and a practice match he played. He will not play our first MLS match (against DC United on Saturday) but he is a bright prospect to make it to the playing team in future," added Vermes.
He (Major Dhyan Chand) is inspiration personified. He became synonymous with hockey. He became the parameter of hockey by which other player's calibre is measured.
Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal