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Quakes to get their kicks near Route 66

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The San Jose Earthquakes Preseason World Tour 2010 (I can’t wait to buy the t-shirt!) leaves the Oakland Coliseum this weekend for the decidedly drier climate of Arizona. Starting on Sunday, and extending to President’s Day, the Quakes head to the desert for a couple of preseason games with the Kansas City Wizards. Joining other MLS teams in the Phoenix area for what may soon be referred to as the Cactus League — Soccer Edition, the Quakes will spend a week in the sun before heading back to San Jose.

However, the Earthquakes won’t leave the Bay Area before completing their first preseason game of 2010, when they take on FC San Jose this Saturday afternoon. The long rumored game is apparently a go, but both teams have agreed to play behind closed doors. Yes, even I wasn’t invited for a game that Coach Frank Yallop let known he hopes to feature his younger players. So unless you know someone with a key to the stadium…

One player we haven’t seen yet at practice is the Quakes first pick in the 2010 MLS Super Draft, Ike Opara. With the team’s understanding, Opara remains at Wake Forest pursuing his undergraduate degree — he expects to be finished by the end of spring semester in May. However, the Earthquakes announced that Opara does plan to join the team near Phoenix for their training session next week. Yallop mentioned that he is contact with the defender on a regular basis, and he is looking forward to seeing him practice with the squad. As I learn more about his performance in Arizona, I’ll pass it along on the blog.

Returning to the Bay Area mid-month, the Earthquakes plan to continue training locally. However, missing from the squad will be El Salvadoran National Team members Arturo Alvarez and Ramon Sanchez. From Arizona, the pair head to Tampa Bay for the international friendly between Los Cuscatlecos and the United States on February 24th. Yallop expects them back with the team by month’s end.

The remainder of the preseason schedule preceding the regular season opener against Real Salt Lake on March 27th is still undecided. But we did learn where they might be for part of that time. In our post-practice conversation on Thursday, Yallop let slip that the team are close to finalizing plans for a trip abroad to jolly old England. A team official confirmed that the Earthquakes were hoping to continue training, including possible practice games, during an early March excursion to a certain north London location. If that is not clue enough for you, be sure to listen to this week’s Center Line Soccer podcast.