Zat Knight is eager to begin life in MLS after putting the finishing touches to his short-term contract with the Colorado Rapids.
The towering centre-back reached an agreement to join the US club last month following a successful trial, but was forced to wait for his P1 visa before the move could become official.
Signed just until the end of 2014, Knight’s arrival is nevertheless a welcome relief, with Colorado’s defence leaking 30 goals over the past 10 games, and there remains the chance that the deal could be extended into next season if the former Bolton Wanderers captain impresses in the four remaining regular-season games.
‘It's been a long process, getting all the paperwork finished, but I'm thrilled to be here,’ he told the club’s official website.
‘I've followed the club's matches since I've been abroad and am working hard to get into the mix quick and contribute the best I can for the final matches of the season.’
With the Rapids struggling with injuries at the back, having lost skipper Drew Moor for the season to a torn ACL, head coach Pablo Mastroeni believes Knight’s experience can help the club end what’s been a testing campaign on a positive note.
‘Zat brings to the table extremely valuable experience and a veteran voice that can immediately make an impact on the field,’ he said.
‘In just the week that he was here for training, he already had the respect of players, and we're excited to see him in action and what he can bring to the club in our last few games.’
Aged 34, Knight began his professional career with Fulham in 2000, earning 155 appearances for the Cottagers, as well as two England caps, before a £3.5 million switch to local club Aston Villa in 2007.
Going on to spend two seasons in the midlands, the Solihull-native then moved on to Bolton in 2009, where he made 191 appearances before leaving the club this summer after the expiration of his contract.
Set to make his MLS debut in Sunday’s home clash against ex-teammate Clint Dempsey and the Seattle Sounders, Knight’s stint in the US might end up being a short one, but an impressive run of games could well lead to other opportunities elsewhere if he doesn't stick around in Colorado.