The San Jose Earthquakes announced today that they have signed the youngest player in franchise history in 17-year-old Gambian midfielder, Omar Jasseh. The 17-year-old midfielder has been training with the club since early February. Prior to coming to the U.S. Jasseh spent three years in England with youth academies at Charlton Athletic FC, Chelsea FC and most recently with Crystal Palace FC. He also spent part of 2009 training with fellow MLS club Toronto FC.
"We are thrilled to add such a young, talented player like Omar," said General Manager John Doyle. "He is a very exciting, dynamic attacking player who has a bright future here in San Jose."
Arturo Alvarez was previously the youngest player signed by the Quakes when he was drafted on January 17, 2003 at 17-years, six-months and 17-days old. Jasseh is currently 17-years, five-months and 13-days old, and could potentially become the youngest player in franchise history to play in an MLS game. Alvarez made his MLS debut on April 19, 2003 when he came on as a substitute in the 85th minute against the Kansas City Wizards.
Head Coach Frank Yallop indicated on Tuesday that Jasseh would be on the substitutes' bench for the U.S. Open Cup play-in match tonight against RSL. During preseason and exhibitions, Jasseh was used primarily as a right-side winger, but he was also effective from the left side.
Jasseh is a dynamic player with nice technical skills, but will find his slighter frame a disadvantage in a physical league like MLS. Still the upside with the young Gambian looks tremendous, and with proper guidance and training he should prove to be an effective MLS player.
As per the usual team and MLS policy, the details of Jasseh's contract were not disclosed. The team provided details for the newest Earthquake are listed below.
Omar Jasseh #22
Born: Nov. 1, 1992 in Banjul, Gambia
Hometown: Banjul, Gambia
How Acquired: Signed by San Jose Earthquakes on April 14, 2010.