Picked up by the Houston Dynamo in the first round of 2011 Supplemental Draft (7th overall), Evan Newton’s dreams of becoming a professional goalkeeper were finally being realized. He had trained and yearned for this job since a young child when in the Virginia Olympic Development Program (ODP). Those dreams looked to be evaporating when at the end of 2011 the Dynamo decided to waive the 24 year old without him ever playing a game. Newton didn’t know where he would end up or what senior netminder would be his new mentor. Would he get to stay in Major League Soccer (MLS) or would he find a spot at FC Tampa Bay of the North American Soccer League (NASL) where he went on loan for most of the 2011 season? As if an answer to prayer, on January 18, 2012, the Virginian was happily welcomed into the San Jose Earthquakes’ pre-season camp in Santa Clara, California and found himself surprisingly back under the tutelage of Jon Busch.
To get the full story, we have to go back to 1998 - 2000 during which time Jon Busch played for the USL A-League team Hampton Road Mariners (now the Virginia Beach Mariners). Per Busch, “In the USL you get paid during the season but not in the offseason, so I needed to train kids to pay the bills down there. So it was something that I enjoyed and continue to do to this day; I train a lot of goalkeepers.” Luckily for Jon, there was a young 11 year old boy who was just in need of a hungry trainer.
Evan Newton shared that as a child, “The sport [soccer] was what I loved to do. So I started ODP and a couple of [private] sessions a week.” He started out training as both a central midfielder and a goalkeeper. However, he switched to training solely as a netminder because he felt that it was his best chance for true success. Due to the fact that there were not a lot of goalkeeper coaches around, Newton went to the Virginia Beach Mariners and asked if Busch would be willing to train him at his craft. They would get together at least once a week, if not 2 or 3 times over the next few years. Evan states, “I was fortunate that my parents were helping me do that by carpooling and paying for sessions.”
After Busch left Virginia Beach to follow his own soccer dreams, Evan Newton stayed in the area and became good friends with Jon’s older brother Matt, who coaches for the Virginia Rush. Thus, when Jon came into town this past winter to visit his sibling, all three got together to catch up on old times and train a bit. The senior netminder still hasn’t officially told the young rookie that he remembers him from over a decade ago; although when pressed, Busch admits that “He [Newton] was tiny; a little guy back then.” Newton was the second person in the past few months who has come back into Buschy’s life saying that they took private lessons as a kid with him who is now in the Major League Soccer, the other being Matt Lampton who signed with the Columbus Crew earlier this year. “It’s funny because it is showing that I’ve been around for awhile.” admits the Quakes’ 2011 Defensive Player of the Year.
On March 9, 2012 the San Jose Earthquakes officially signed Evan Newton to a contract to be the third goalkeeper behind Busch and Generation Adidas player David Bingham. Once he learned that they were going to sign him, Newton said that it brought a lot of excitement and admits that so far he’s been happy on the other coast. “I think the organization, team is great, the coaches are great and everyone gets along well.”
The newest keeper especially enjoys working with San Jose’s goalkeeper coach Jason Batty and feels that “there aren’t many guys in the league, goalkeeper-wise, that you would want to learn from over Jon [Busch]. You can ask anyone, he is one of the best with his work rate and his experience. So I’m glad to be here and I am just soaking up what I can.”