A day after stressing the importance of building depth into their 2016 roster, the San Jose Earthquakes signed forward Qunicy Amarikwa and defender Jordan Stewart to new contracts. Per league policy, details of both deals have not been released by MLS or the Quakes.
Amarikwa, acquired in a midseason trade with the Chicago Fire, had an immediate impact on his new club. Scoring six goals -- all on the road -- in 17 games after arriving in a trade that sent Ty Harden to the Windy City, the 28-year old Amarikwa gave the Quakes a forward to replace the injured Innocent in the starting eleven.
A third-round selection by the Earthquakes in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft, Amarikwa was traded a year later by San Jose to the Colorado Rapids for a future draft pick -- one that yielded University of South Florida goalkeeper Chris Blais in 2012. He also played for Toronto FC prior to his stint with the Fire and ultimate return to the Quakes. In seven MLS seasons, Amarikwa has totaled 21 goals and 14 assists in 144 games.
"Quincy was a good addition to our team when we acquired him," said head coach Dominic Kinnear in a club statement. "He quickly became an important part of the team and a piece that we wanted to keep as we head into 2016 and beyond."
Stewart, who joined the team in the summer of 2013 from Coventry City, was a stalwart on the defensive line, mostly at left back, upon his arrival in San Jose. He struggled with injuries last season, missing a significant portion of the start of the campaign and then suffering a season-ending torn left Achilles tendon in mid August. The 33-year old had his original contract option for 2016 denied by the Earthquakes, but the club made it clear they would welcome him back on a modified contract as he continued his rehabilitation.
The English defender has played for a number of teams in his career, including Leicester City in the English Premier League from 1999 to 2005. Stewart had one more Premier League season in 2006-07, this time with Watford. He has made 56 total appearances for San Jose in two-plus MLS seasons.
"We are happy to bring Jordan back to the club," said Earthquakes general manager John Doyle in a club statement. "He has been a great leader for the organization both on and off the field and we're happy to have his veteran presence in the locker room for another season."
The pair of signing increase the size of the current official Earthquakes roster, according to the club's website, to 26 players. Both players are unlikely to be starting eleven candidates when the season opens in March -- Amarikwa as he will potentially be behind Innocent in the pecking order and Stewart as he will be on the mend from his Achilles injury into spring.