Zizzo thrilled to be joining Chivas USA

US youth product can't wait to head back to old stomping grounds

CARSON, Calif. – It’s official: Chivas USA have won the lottery.

The Goats acquired attacking midfielder Sal Zizzo on Wednesday, beating out Kansas City and D.C. United in a weighted lottery for the rights to the 23-year-old. He is expected to be eligible to play in Chivas USA’s July 31 match at home against the Columbus Crew.

Zizzo is thrilled to be joining Chivas USA. A native of San Diego, he played two years at UCLA before joining German side Hannover 96 in 2007. He’s excited to be returning to his native California and to Los Angeles, a city with which he’s very familiar.

“I was absolutely psyched when I found out it was Chivas,” Zizzo told MLSsoccer.com in an exclusive interview after the Goats’ SuperLiga match against Pachuca. “They were my No. 1 choice. Coming back to California is great – I love Los Angeles. The lifestyle here fits me really well and I’m so happy to be back. It all feels perfect.”

Zizzo admits he was anxious before the lottery that would decide his MLS fate.

“The whole thing was a long process,” he said. “I was actually pretty nervous up until the draft. I was talking to my agent, texting him. Once it hit 2 o’clock, I was just on edge. Then he told me, ‘You better learn Spanish,’ and I knew that it was Chivas.”

Zizzo spent three years in the Bundesliga, making eight first-team appearances and spending time with Hannover’s reserve side. He has also earned caps for the US National Team at the U-20, U-23 and senior levels.

“My experience in Germany has helped me so much,” Zizzo said. “It taught me how to be a professional, to work hard, to never take a day of training for granted and to always go 100 percent.”

Chivas USA will be glad to have Zizzo’s services. The Red-and-White currently sit in last place in the Western Conference and will face a string of tough competition in the coming weeks that includes playoff contenders Salt Lake, Columbus and Toronto.

“The team has struggled a little bit this year, but I think they’ve picked it up recently,” said Zizzo of Chivas USA’s season so far. “I’m here to help. I’m hoping to bring a little speed and some drive to the game.”

Zizzo will begin practices with the team on Thursday morning, though even that may be too long a wait for him.

“I can’t wait to get started,” he said with a smile. “I’m so excited to be here.”