The big signing of the summer transfer window for Sporting Kansas City, okay the only signing was Jordi Quintillà from AC Ajaccio in France. While the second division French teams may not be all that well known, Quintillà's other former team is a little different. Jordi was in the famed Barcelona academy for a few years.
This summer, Jordi's agent suggested he come to Sporting KC on trial and take a look. "I wanted to come and see all of the city, the stadium, all the players and I loved it. I loved the city I loved everybody," Quintillà stated.
Before he came to Kansas City, Jordi sought the advice of former Sporting KC midfielder and fellow Barcelona academy product Uri Rosell. "He (Uri) was a year older than me so we were not on the same team but I know him really well. I talked to him and he said I ‘should come, don't hesitate.' So I did," Jordi explained.
Quintillà was impressed with Sporting KC when he visited on trial. "I love the mentality, how hard they are. I loved how helpful, the hospitality when I came here was perfect. That is the thing, the most important thing for me to come here," Quintillà said. "Here we play the 4-3-3 and it is the best system for me to play. I played many years in Barcelona and I really like to play this system. For me it is the best one."
When asked if any Sporting KC players stood out while he was here on trial, Quintillà quickly answered. "Benny and Roger. They are the two who play in my position. I think maybe because they are the two who play in my position I looked at them closely. I liked very much the way that they played."
Midseason makes it hard to break in
It is fairly normal, especially for Sporting Kansas City, that midseason acquisitions find it hard to break into the first team until the following year. Rosell played sparingly his first year before taking a starting spot the following year and becoming too good the next (offers from Europe).
Quintillà knows to not expect too much playing time right away. "I don't think about that. I am just going to be working, just doing my best so one day Peter and Kerry will say to me. Come on, it's your time, but I don't think about that moment," Jordi said.
Adapting to MLS
Major League Soccer tends to be more physical and athletic than many leagues around the world, making it more difficult to adapt quickly. Quintillà sees that as a challenge. "I love, I love. It is a challenge for me. I love a challenge. I'm sure I am going to improve my physical play here."
Jordi paused for a moment and then added, "Roger will teach me."
The banner at top seems to be the inspiration for Jordi's number
96? Why 96?
Quintillà chose 96 to be his number at Sporting KC. "Mike (Flaherty) sent me a lot of numbers and I looked at them with a friend. We saw different images from the match, from the stadium and we saw the number 96 there so we thought that was it." While he was not sure exactly what 96 stood for, Jordi knew it meant something to the fans and wanted to represent them.
What can the fans expect?
When asked what Sporting KC fans can expect of him, Quintillà responded, "Someone who fights for their colors. Kerry (Zavagnin) said to me don't stop, never. To run and to fight because technically I already have it. So yes, someone who fights."