In an MLS offseason laden with drafts, Stage One of the Re-Entry Draft was short and sweet. Just three players were taken league-wide, including goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum by the San Jose Earthquakes with the second overall pick.
Gruenebaum was previously with Sporting Kansas City, where the 31-year old spent one season with the defending MLS Cup champions. He started 11 games for his hometown club, sharing goalkeeping responsibilities with Eric Kronberg over the course of the 34-game season. In a curious coincidence, Kronberg was one of the other two players selected in Stage One of the Re-Entry Draft, going to the Montreal Impact with the number one overall pick.
Prior to his one-year turn with Sporting KC, Gruenebaum spent the first eight seasons of his MLS career with the Columbus Crew. A long-time understudy to Will Hesmer in Columbus, Gruenebaum finally got his chance to start regularly in 2012 when he started all but one game for the Crew. After suffering an injury of his own in 2013, Gruenebaum was limited to 21 appearances in his last season for the Crew.
Players selected in Stage One of the MLS Re-Entry draft will have their 2015 contract options picked up in full. For the Earthquakes, that means making good on Gruenebaum's contract, which paid him $85,000 in 2014. His salary in 2015 will be at least that amount, depending on the terms of his MLS contract, details of which are not available from the league.
Coming on the heels of the Quakes' announcement that David Bingham has been signed to a new contract, San Jose now has two talented goalkeepers on its roster. Veteran starter Jon Busch, who had a great five-year run with the Earthquakes and was made available in the Re-Entry Draft, is highly unlikely to be back with the team in 2015.
In a curious twist of fate, Gruenebaum made his first MLS appearance as a rookie in 2006 when he entered as a substitute for Busch, who had suffered an injury. Eight years later, Gruenebaum is again replacing his one-time goalkeeping mentor.