Former RSL and KC forward Movsisyan transfers to Spartak Moscow


Just two years after leaving Major League Soccer for Europe, forward Yura Movsisyan has made a big-money move to Spartak Moscow.

Movsisyan is heading to Spartak on a $9.7 million transfer from FC Krasnodar. The transfer is the second-largest ever involving a current or former MLS players. Only Jozy Altidore’s $10 million transfer to Villarreal from the New York Red Bulls was larger.

Movsisyan moved to Europe after the 2009 MLS season, helping Real Salt Lake win an MLS Cup title before moving to Danish club Randers. A successful stint in Denmark earned him a $3.2 million move to Russian side FC Krasnodar, where he enjoyed two impressive seasons, scoring 23 goals and earning the attention of Spartak Moscow.

The No. 4 pick in the 2006 MLS Draft by the Kansas City Wizards, Movsisyan spent four years in MLS, scoring 20 goals during that time.

A native of Azerbaijan, Movsisyan spent a year playing at Pasadena City College, where MLS scouts and discovered him and signed him to a Generation adidas contract. Movsisyan had aspirations of eventually playing for the U.S. Men’s national team, but was unable to secure citizenship before moving to Europe and eventually decided to play for the Armenian national team.

What do you think of this development? Surprised to see Movsisyan develop into such a force in Europe? Wish he had gained his U.S. citizenship so he could play for the U.S. National Team?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Kangarooster

    If he can’t play for U.S. then so be it. No one should be wishing “one” player to play for their country, nor is one player going to change the overall outcomes of our teams. Good for Yura that he has worked hard and progressed his career since leaving MLS, good luck to him with Spartak and Azerbaijan.


    • dikranovich

      he plays for armenia, not azerbaijan. thats a crucial difference not to be confused.


    • kevin

      not saying we should dwell on him not being able to play for the US, but in tons of cases one player makes the difference for their team in a crucial game or even over the course of a season. sounds like he could’ve helped us… oh well.

      great to see a former MLSer doing so well regardless


  • Hincha Tim

    Incredible progess he has made. I remember watching him play when he first arrived at RSL, He would just put his head down and try to dribble, never looking up to see if their was an option to pass, a very one dimensional (and frustrating) player. His improvement in his years at RSL was noticable and his game got better. I happened to win a pair of his autographed soccer cleats at the MLS final in 2009 in Seattle. They’ve been sitting in my closet until my son gets big enough to wear them.


  • JRP

    He was as key to winning the cup that year as Beckerman. I knew he was good, but a $9 million transfer fee is beyond good.
    What’s the key to his success? Must be Xango.


  • Blokhin

    as a Dynamo Kiev fan, as long as he works to keep Spartak’s lousy form intact, it’s all good. Spartak’s hasn’t done anything domestically, or internationally in a long, long time… probably 3rd best team in their own city


  • Old School

    Really proud for him. Great work, Yura! As an MLS Supporter, very proud to see him do well after making the jump.


  • ed - houston

    this dude was most impressive when rsl would come to town a few years back. they would still not win but he stood out.


  • Micah King

    He should have found him an American girl to marry. He would have been a citizen in a heart beat.


    • Joe+G

      Yep, American wife & child(ren). He and his parents didn’t get Green Card status until late and he decided not to wait around for the US and joined Armenia. At the time, he never would have entered the conversation … now? That’s a different story.


    • GW

      If you marry an American woman you get a green card fairly quickly.

      That is not citizenship; it just allows you to live and work in the US legally.

      Once that happens to best of my knowledge it takes five years before you can become a citizen and play for the USMNT. Movsisyan wanted to play for the US but it just would have taken too long.


      • Joe+G

        Marry an American, it takes 3 years to get citizenship. Hold a regular Green Card, it takes 5. Generally have to be resident in the US for 6 months prior to application (that may be the hardest part for someone in his situation).

        Tough to ask any young man to wait if he hasn’t been in serious consideration before.


  • Chris

    I hate these players that grow up in the united states and receive all of our benefits in this great country. Players like this guy and rossi are all scum. I will give subotic a pass because rongen pretty much threw him out of our system, good decision there. Look at rossi, he is currently living in nyc even tho he represents italy. I wish more injuries on that piece of crap and I just hope if we play italy soon mr. jermaine jones goes in a tad too hard on his knee. Yes these words are harsh and a bit polarizing but i believe in our country and think its bull that young players can grow up here and then not represent this country


    • Ramsizzler

      And I’m guessing you are 100% comfortable with Jones, Chandler, Williams, etc. representing the US even though they grew up in Germany? It’s not a perfect system by any means, but you can’t fault someone for playing for the country they feel they align with the most. It’s their decision, let them live with it, and hopefully they go in our favor in the future.


      • Chris

        A little bit of a different situation with jones and chandler, they were born to american parents and probably grew up on american military bases in germany which are pretty similar to us cities just abroad. I could see why they chose to play for the us, also the fact that germany didnt want them makes it an easier decision


      • Andy

        Jermaine Jones grew up in Germany (not on a military base) never even knowing his American father. Rossi’s father is Italian and at least he grew up with him! Rossi has just as much if not more of a claim to play for the Italian team than Jones and the other do for the USA.


    • Camjam

      Yura doesn’t really fit the mold of what you’re talking about, unless you’re referring to the length of time required to get actual citizenship. He openly stated that he was planning on playing for the US, but when he found out how long it would take he decided to play for his birth country because he didn’t want to wait another 4 years.


    • GW

      I take it you feel the US MNT should have first dibs on all US eligible soccer talent “”produced” by the US “system”.

      I will leave it to you to define what exactly that “system” is.

      My guess is that you would have quite a debate on your hands if it ever got to a court where they would have to decide just how much of Rossi’s or Yura’s “soccer” talent was “ American” and how much was “Foreign”.

      Unlike you I don’t view playing for the USMNT in the same light as, for example, joining the Armed Forces. Although, interestingly, you don’t have to be a citizen to serve in the US Armed forces but you do have to be a citizen to play for the USMNT.

      Your philosophy reminds me of when ML Baseball used to have a reserve clause that bound players to their clubs, for all practical purposes, in perpetuity. The argument more or less was, “we developed them, and we are entitled to their services”.

      MLS teams are different from national teams but the intent of the restraint is the same. National teams are more like businesses than government agencies, at least to the players and team officials, since for them doing well for the national team, especially in a World Cup, gives them a potential shot at a significant career upgrade. You might have noticed that if the US were to implement your culturally exclusive policy it would put it at a competitive disadvantage to almost many significant soccer nations in the world.

      And reduced competitiveness is bad for business.


  • Facundo

    Helped him and his family jump start their car after a RSL/LAG. They had won the game. He stood and chatted with us for a good 45 mins. Super cool guy.


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