The San Jose Earthquakes will begin to take shape on Wednesday as they select players from the rosters of the other 13 MLS teams they will battle for the right to lift the 2008 MLS Cup at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, which was recently announced as host.
The list of available players has a few names of those who have played for the previous incarnation of the Quakes, some who have played for returning coach Frank Yallop recently released by the Galaxy, and, predictably, a bunch of names I’ve never heard of.
If recent history is any indicator, many of the players selected tomorrow will form a team that will be one of the worst in the league, and probably not return for a second season in San Jose (like Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake).
Here’s what we already know about the 14th MLS franchise:
1. They are owned by Lew Wolff who is the majority owner of the Oakland Athletics in MLB.
2. The General Manager is John Doyle, a former MLS player in San Jose, who has also been an assistant coach and TV announcer.
3. The head-coach is Frank Yallop, a former player in MLS and abroad, who has coached in MLS and for the national team of Canada.
4. For the foreseeable future, they will play their home games at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara (not San Jose) on the campus of the university. There is mention of possible games in the Oakland Coliseum.
5. Their new uniform is pictured above.
While John Doyle (R) is a great guy and will undoubtedly be a friend to the fan base, his qualifications as a GM remain to be seen. His pedigree appears to mirror that of Alexi Lalas. Let’s hope for the sake of the Quakes that the similarity to Lalas ends there.
The decision to play at Santa Clara shouldn’t be surprising. I’ve gone on record (MLS Talk) as saying that partnerships between MLS and universities and colleges in prospective markets make great sense. Educational facilities in many areas like California own huge areas of land for development for a possible soccer specific stadium. In this case, the team will add upgrades to an already newer facility that is home to perennially rated NCAA soccer programs (men and women). The downside of this arrangement (with an option for 2010) is that the team will not be the “Bay Area” team that was mentioned as part of management’s initial strategy. Wolff’s early comments about where the team would play were not limited to the San Jose area but included San Francisco, Oakland, and other places more accessible to the urban fan including ethnic minorities. Having to drive to the games and the subsequent parking prices will limit the new/old fan base to soccer moms and white males.
With all that said, here are the players who should be considered for selection by the 2008 San Jose Earthquakes:
(Keep in mind that only 10 players will be selected and no more than one player may be selected from any team)
Ramon Nunez (CHIV), Ivan Guerrero (FIRE), Conor Casey (RAPIDS), Ned Grabavoy (CREW), Abe Thompson (DAL), Nicholas Addlery (DC), Guy Kpene (DC), Ryan Cochrane (HOU), Jose Burciaga (KC), Gavin Glinton (GALS), Alan Gordon (GALS), Andy Dorman (NE), Kevin Goldthwaite (RBNY), Joseph Vide (RBNY), Kenny Cutler (RSL), Andrea Lombardo (TFC)