Zourab Tsiskaridze aka "Zee", 23, played with Miami FC Blues in 18 USL-1 matches. He is 6-ft, 185-pounds and a left-sided player who scored one goal and added one assist in 836 minutes of action. His only goal came during Miami's 3-2 defeat to the Whitecaps at Swangard Stadium on June 12, 2009.Our good friend Robert Scorca asked "Zee" a few questions and here is his response :
Prior to joining the Blues, Zourab spent 18 months with the reserve and first team of FC Sète 34, who play in France’s third division.
In 2004, Tsiskaridze began his professional career in Brazil with the U-20 side of Associação Atlética Internacional - a club based in Limeira, São Paulo. He then played the first six months of 2005 with the U-20 side of Grêmio Recreativo Barueri, who are based in Barueri, São Paulo.
A native of Tbilisi, Georgia, Tsiskaridze first moved to Poland in 1990 before moving to the United States in the spring of 2001. It was in the U.S. that he quickly became a standout soccer player at McLean High School in McLean, Virginia.
Robert Scorca (RS): You came for an open tryout with Miami FC. How many players participated? How many signed on with Miami FC?
Zourab Tsiskaridze (Zee): There were 128 players trying out, 4 players were invited back to train with the team, I was the only one who signed.
RS: After the tryout was over did you feel good about your chances to make the team?
Zee: Yes of course, I talked to (Coach) Zinho and he was very pleased with my performance and he liked me a lot, so I felt that I had a good chance of signing.
RS: What was it like during your first days here in Miami?
Zee : I was getting to know the city a little bit and it was chaotic in the beginning because I was looking for an apartment with Facundo Erpen and we were staying in Diego Serna's house for about 3 weeks until we found a place.
RS : What position did you play before joining Miami FC? I feel you were stuck as a defender with the injury to Facundo Erpen but did not feel comfortable there.
Zee : I played a left sided midfielder or a left sided forward all my life. At the beginning of my career I had played as left back also, but I learned the center back position in Miami thanks to Zinho. I'm glad I did because it made me a more versatile player even though I had trouble learning the position in the beginning.
RS : In your time here we saw your growth as a player. How much of this was because you were more comfortable when you were moved to an attacking roll?
Zee : I love creating, scoring goals or making assists, that's the way I always played. I adjusted to the system we played here in Miami and when I was moved back as an attacker I felt very comfortable.
RS : Do you have any superstitions before a game?
Zee : I like to talk to my dad the day before games, he gives me the best advise and he's my best fan and critic, without his support and advise I wouldn't be able to do what I love.
RS : Which player or coach do you feel was most helpful during your career?
Zee : Coach Greg Petrosian, is a great part of my becoming a complete player. He helped me develop my strength, power and speed. He was a strength and fitness coach in DC United for many years, He won 3 MLS championships with them and also was a Olympic gold medalist in long jump in the 80's. He still performs and he's a world champion in long jump in masters. I've been training with him for the past 6 years, he's a great teacher, great person and a great coach that influenced my professional career.
In my time in Miami I'm very thankful to Zinho for bringing me into the team and giving me the opportunity to perform. He gave me a lot of advise and I'll be always thankful and proud that I had him as a coach. My teammates were there for me too, I had a great relationship with everyone, I still talk to many of the guys, they helped me and I helped them in different situations, we had good chemistry.
RS : What are you going to miss most about your time here in Miami?
Zee: My teammates, the city and the beach, the great weather and of course you Robert:)
RS: Any idea what position Vancouver plans on playing you?
Zee : There are several positions that the coach wants me to learn and be ready to perform in if necessary, I'm waiting for the preseason to start to find out what my roles are.
RS: Any closing thoughts on your time here in Miami?
Zee : I think if Traffic invests more money into the team they'll be able to establish a core of players that will be there for a few seasons. Every team has that. Its a shame that so many good players came and went. The past few years the squad had changed every season making it difficult not only for the coach, but for the whole organization to be successful. I want to wish Miami FC the best of luck in NASL, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to play here last season.
The most important thing about last year is that I grew as a player and person. I'm very happy and glad to have meet so many great people in South Florida. If I had to say something that sums up the whole thing is that a soccer career is only for couple of years and it passes, but the friends you make along the way are forever. I want to thank ALL my friends including you Robert for the support now and for bringing happiness to my life.
Here is a video of Zee scoring on his new team!