Colorado Rapids announced today that the club has acquired attacker Shkëlzen Gashi from FC Basel as a Designated Player. The Albanian international will be added to the roster upon receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and his P1 Visa.
“Shkëlzen was our top attacking target this offseason,” said Paul Bravo, Technical Director and VP of Soccer Operations. “He has proven to be a prolific goalscorer in his club’s domestic and European success. In addition he has been instrumental in his national team’s qualification campaign for Euro 2016. We are delighted to sign him on a permanent transfer and look forward to seeing him in burgundy.”
Gashi, 27, joins Major League Soccer from FC Basel of the Swiss Super League, where he scored 25 goals since his arrival to the club prior to the 2014 season. Gashi has earned Swiss Super League Golden Boot honors in his last two seasons after scoring 19 goals for Grasshopper Club Zürich in 2013-14 and 22 goals for FC Basel in 2014-15. In 2014, he earned Axpo Player of the Year accolades, awarded to the best player in the Swiss Super League.
Gashi made his professional debut in 2006 with FC Zürich of the Swiss League and, following two loan stints with FC Schaffhausen and AC Bellinzona, joined Neuchâtel Xamax in 2010. While with Neuchâtel, Gashi appeared in 13 games (1 goal) and a total of 41 games (22 goals) with FC Aarau in 2011-12.
During his two years at Grasshoppers, Gashi saw action in 60 matches while scoring 24 goals for the club. He was a regular for a side that appeared in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round as well as the UEFA Europa League. He was in the Basel side that held Liverpool to a 1-1 draw at Anfield in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League in 2014-15, and which narrowly lost at home to a Cristiano Ronaldo goal in the contest with Real Madrid.
Born in Zurich, Gashi made 21 appearances for the Switzerland U17, U19 and U21 squads, notching eight goals. In 2013, Gashi earned his senior team debut for the Albanian national team after receiving his citizenship on August 18.
At the senior level, Gashi has scored three goals in 11 appearances for Albania, including the game-winning goal against Armenia during the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers on March 29, 2015. The UEFA Euro 2016 will be Albania's first ever appearance at a major football tournament after the side finished in second place of Group I behind Portugal.
Gashi joins Irish international striker Kevin Doyle as a Designated Player on the Rapids’ roster.
The Rapids season starts on Sunday, March 6 at 1 p.m. MT on the road against the San Jose Earthquakes, with the Home Opener at Dick's Sporting Goods Park against the LA Galaxy on Saturday, March 12 at 5 p.m. MT. For more information or to purchase season tickets, visit www.ColoradoRapids.com or call 303-825-GOAL.
Transaction: Colorado Rapids (MLS) – Rapids sign Shkëlzen Gashi as a Discovery Signing via transfer from Basel on February 1, 2016; will occupy a Designated Player slot
Full Name: Shkëlzen Gashi
Birth Date: July 15, 1988
Birthplace: Zurich, Switzerland
Previous Club: FC Basel
Record last five seasons (all competitions):
2015/16: 18 apps, 6 goals
2014/15: 39 apps, 26 goals
2013/14: 39 apps, 20 goals
2012/13: 34 apps, 6 goals
2011/12: 29 apps, 19 goals