June 11, 2018 / 6:24 AM / 8 months ago

Report: Quakes pursuing Georgian defender

Guram Kashia, a defender from the nation of Georgia, might be headed to Major League Soccer.

According to a tweet from Joel Soria, editor in chief of the San Jose Earthquakes fan website Quakes Epicenter, “I’m being told that Guram Kashia’s transfer to #Quakes74 isn’t finalized yet, but will likely get completed this upcoming week.”

Kashia wouldn’t be eligible to move to San Jose until MLS’ secondary transfer window opens July 10.

Kashia, 30, is captain of Vitesse Arnhem, a top-level side in the Netherlands. He appeared for the club in six Europa League games last season, and he had four goals and an assist in Eredivisie league play. Kashia has been with Vitesse since 2010, scoring 20 goals in 244 games.

He began his pro career with Dinamo Tbilisi in his hometown, notching 12 goals in 91 appearances from 2006-10.

Kashia has also appeared in 64 games for the Georgian national team, netting two goals.

The Earthquakes already have a Georgian national who formerly played for Vitesse Arnhem, midfielder Valeri “Vako” Qazaishvili.

Kashia was part of a controversy last fall when he wore a rainbow-colored captain’s armband for Vitesse, as did all captains in the Eredivisie, part of the Dutch league’s outreach with the LGBT community. The move was decried by many back in Georgia, with a columnist calling for him to be removed from the national team and lots of social-media commenters agreeing.

According to Reuters, columnist Giorgi Gigauri wrote in the Asavali-Dasavali newspaper, “‘LGBT Kashia’ must be cut off from the Georgian team! Georgia’s soccer fathers should know that Georgian men will boycott the team if ‘LGBT-Kashia’ dares to play in the national team jersey.”

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