The Kansas City Wizards announced today that forward Sunil Chhetri has been added to the Wizards’ 24-man roster, after the Indian striker received his P1 visa and international transfer certificate late last week.
“Sunil is a guy that has good attacking tendencies," Wizards Manager Peter Vermes said. “He’s had a bit of time to settle in, so it should be a seamless transition.”
Chhetri scored a hat trick in the Wizards reserves match against the University of Evansville two weeks ago, bringing his goal tally to four in two games with the Wizards’ second unit. Chhetri is expected to play in Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup qualifier against the Colorado Rapids, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. CT at the Stanley H. Durwood Soccer Stadium on the campus of the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC).
“I’m very excited to be able to appear with the team,” Chhetri said. “We have a good squad and I’m going to give my best to help us on the field.”
With his addition to the Wizards’ roster, Chhetri becomes the eighth citizen of an Asian country and the first Indian to play in Major League Soccer. He will also be the first Asian citizen to play for the Kansas City Wizards and the third Indian soccer player ever to ply his trade outside of his home nation.
Chhetri also becomes just the third Indian-born professional athlete currently in American professional team sports, with Pittsburgh Pirates minor-league pitchers Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel being the other two. NFL Linebacker Brandon Chillar of the Green Bay Packers and former NFL wide receiver Sanjay Beach are both of Indian descent as well.
To make room for Chhetri’s addition, forward Zoltan has been placed on the injured reserve list. The Hungarian suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (knee) in the second half of the Wizards’ game against A.C. St. Louis on April 3rd, and isn’t expected back from the injury until September.