Work still ahead for new Chivas USA signing Zizzo

Former Hannover 96 man eager to recover his fitness

CARSON, Calif. – For Sal Zizzo, it’s time to get down to business.

The 23-year-old joined Chivas USA on July 21 after the team won the rights to the former Hannover 96 man in a weighted draft. A week later, the hype of the acquisition has worn off and Zizzo has started the process of fitting in with his new teammates and learning the Red-and-White system.

“It’s been good to be practicing again,” Zizzo told after training on Tuesday. “Today was one of the first days where I felt like I could catch my breath. When I came in, I thought I was fit, but it’s different when you start playing soccer.”

Zizzo tore his ACL in a match with Hannover in October and has been battling to recover his fitness and form ever since.

“I’m really working on my fitness these first few weeks,” he said. “That’s my focus. But the knee feels great.”

A native of San Diego, Zizzo has several acquaintances on the Goats’ squad thanks to years of playing elite youth soccer in Southern California.

“I knew a lot of these guys growing up and a lot of them play a style that I’m accustomed to,” Zizzo said. “The system here feels great.”

While his primary focus may be on improving his fitness, Zizzo is also eager to regain his touch after several months of rehab that limited him from game play.

“Every day in training, we get a ton of touches on the ball,” he said. “That’s kind of what I need right now. I’ve been doing nothing but running for seven months. I just need to get my touch back.”

Zizzo has spent most of his career as an attacking midfielder. He notched eight goals and 14 assists during two years at UCLA, but it’s unclear thus far where he fits in the Chivas USA lineup

“The coaches haven’t talked to me about my potential positioning,” he said. “They told me to just get fit right now and to get my knee used to playing, and I’m happy to be doing that."