The San Jose Earthquakes were in the news again today, as the team announced the hiring of architect and design firm 360 Architecture to plan the proposed soccer specific stadium project near the San Jose airport. Owner Lew Wolff, who is also looking to build a stadium for the Oakland A’s, has worked together with the firm to identify potential sites for both stadia in and around San Jose.
While the news is a step in the right direction, it does not indicate that a timeline has been reached to begin construction of the Quakes proposed new home. Given that the relationship with 360 Architecture has been ongoing, the announcement today appears to be more of a formality than anything. The bigger news will come with the signing-on of major corporate sponsors for the project — a prerequisite that Wolff has mentioned in the past is necessary to help fund the project. Until then, the shiny shovels earmarked for the groundbreaking ceremony will continue to gather dust.
Meanwhile on the player front, the Earthquakes announced the little-used rookie defender Justin Morrow will join USSF second division club Tampa Bay Rowdies on loan for the remainder of the season. The Quakes do have the right to recall the former Notre Dame product at any time if he is needed, but I imagine they will give him every opportunity to gain playing time in Florida. Morrow has appeared in two games for the Earthquakes this season, and could clearly benefit from getting more match experience.
In light of MLS still functioning without a reserve division — though one is tentatively planned for next season — getting young players on the field for competitive matches is paramount for their development. Morrow looked overwhelmed at times during his last MLS appearance, on the road against FC Dallas, where he entered as a substitute for an injured Andre Luiz in the first half, but was substituted himself by Ryan Johnson in the second half. Morrow hasn’t appeared on the field since, but has made good strides in team training in the subsequent months.
Out at the NTF earlier today, the excitement generated yesterday at the news that former English International goalkeeper Richard Wright was arriving in San Jose this week for a trial with the Earthquakes was squelched today by head coach Frank Yallop. When asked by reporters after training whether Wright was a candidate to make the club, Yallop indicated that the ‘keeper — a good friend and colleague dating back to their days together at Ipswich Town — was only in town to train with the club. The invitation to join the Quakes was done as a favor to the out-of-work Wright, and not intended to be a trial ahead of signing with MLS.
Lastly, a couple of Earthquakes are preparing for international duty tonight. First off, Jamaican goal scoring hero Ryan Johnson leads the Reggae Boyz into a match against Peru down in Florida, while Arturo Alvarez, fresh off 90 minutes for the Quakes against the Dynamo on Sunday, will suit up or El Salvador for their match against Guatemala in our nation’s capital. Johnson and Alvarez will both be back in San Jose ahead of this weekend’s MLS match against FC Dallas.