Versatile Zerka to operate as wide midfielder

Although capable of playing as a forward or defender, Zerka will be used as a winger with the R

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – When Argentine forward Milton Caraglio was announced as the New England Revolution’s first-ever Designated Player three weeks ago, Vice President of Player Personnel Michael Burns said the club was hopeful it would add an additional attacking player prior to the close of the transfer window on Aug. 15.

It took a few days longer than expected, but the Revs finally sealed the anticipated move on Aug. 18 when they announced the signing of French-born Moroccan attacker Monsef Zerka.

“We are looking forward to Monsef’s arrival,” Burns said in the club’s official press release. “He is an experienced player who will provide us with another attacking option.”

Zerka joins the Revs from Greek side Iraklis FC, where he had a brief stint following an extensive career in France with both AS Nancy (2001-09) and FC Nantes (2009-11). While with AS Nancy, Zerka scored 17 goals in 173 appearances, including 13 goals in 85 appearances while the club was competing at the top level of French soccer, Ligue 1.

Although he’s spent time as a forward and defender throughout his career, Zerka operates primarily as a wide midfielder and that’s where Revolution head coach Steve Nicol sees the 29-year-old contributing in Foxborough.

“He’ll play wide,” Nicol said. “He can play on either side. He’s got good experience and he’ll help us.”

Born in France, Zerka is of Moroccan descent and has scored three goals in 12 appearances with the Morocco National Team. He represented Morocco in both the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens and the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, in which he scored a goal in a 5-1 win over Namibia.

Zerka won’t officially be added to the Revolution’s roster until he receives his P-1 Visa, so the attack-minded winger won’t be available for Saturday night’s meeting with the New York Red Bulls. But with just eight games remaining on the regular-season schedule after this weekend, the Revs are hoping the necessary paperwork will clear as soon as possible.

“As soon as we can get him in, the better,” said Nicol.