If there were any doubts regarding the dedication of Brazilian midfielder Geovanni to his new team, the tale of how he came to be available to play Saturday for the San Jose Earthquakes should quell them.
In order to potentially face the Quakes’ most bitter rival – the Los Angeles Galaxy – the first designated player in San Jose franchise history spent an hour Friday making his way, on foot, through the San Ysidro border crossing from Tijuana back into the United States.
The team had made it clear when Geovanni signed his deal with the Quakes on Monday that they didn’t expect his ITC certificate and P-1 visa to be processed in time for him to debut in San Jose’s biggest home match of the season. But for maybe the first time all year, the Quakes finally had some luck on their side.
“Every single thing that could have went right, went right,” Doyle said. “We started this a week ago to get Geovanni here, to get him a physical, to sign him, to get all those things done. And we started the paperwork the minute that they had it all in place. Everything was put in place so this could happen today, and we still didn’t think it was going to be possible.”
It wouldn’t have been without a hastily planned road trip for Geovanni and Jed Mettee, the team’s senior director of broadcasting and communications, who acted as translator and facilitator. The Brazilian had his P-1 visa, which is required for international players coming to the US, but it needed to be validated at an American embassy or consulate – hence the sudden trip abroad.
Geovanni was able to get the visa squared away quickly, but because flights from Tijuana don’t go directly to the US, it was more expedient for the pair to walk back into the country and fly from San Diego. They arrived back in San Jose at 2:45 pm PT on Friday and faxed the last piece of paperwork to the league offices shortly thereafter.
“Everything fell into place perfectly,” Doyle said. “I thought we would have him against New York, but to be able to have him available for tomorrow is terrific.”
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @sjquakes