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Harold Cummings Signs for San Jose

In their first big player signing of the offseason, the Earthquakes acquired 25-year-old Panamanian National Team mainstay Harold Cummings on a free transfer

FBL-COPAM2016-CHI-PAN Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

The San Jose Earthquakes confirmed in a press release the acquisition of central defender Harold Cummings, 25, who has been capped 46 times already by the Panama National Team. No terms were immediately disclosed other than the fact the deal is for multiple years, although inference from team and league policy indicates that it was a free transfer and his salary will come in under the Designated Player threshold (roughly $487,000 per year).

Cummings is a strong and ferocious defender, with good technique on the tackle, decent reading of the game, and quickness in tight spaces if not much open-field pace. His height (alternatively reported as 5’11” or 6’0”) is on the shorter end of his position and he’s not much of a leaper, but despite that he appears to hold his own in the aerial game through strength and good positioning. He’s right-footed, but has put in a large amount of time at left-back, and would appear to fit in best as the left-sided center-back in a partnership. I couldn't find much tape of him playing the ball out of the back with his feet, but I think it would be safe to say that he’s more in the Víctor Bernárdez mold than the Clarence Goodson mold: a true enforcer. He appears, however, to be comfortable enough on the ball that it shouldn’t be an issue.

Here is a long highlight reel that I think gives a good idea of what his game is like, complete with traditional weird background music:

In terms of where he fits into the broader picture of the Quakes roster development, every indication I’ve gotten so far is that he was brought in to, at the very minimum, strongly compete for a starting spot. He is not merely depth, or cover. While some have interpreted this as the sign that Clarence Goodson’s career is over, my sources within the club indicate Cummings would’ve been signed regardless of Goodson’s status, or Marvell Wynne’s for that matter. The team needed to get younger at the back, and signing a seasoned international who is just 25 and can contribute to the starting XI does the trick.

He’s the first major piece in the rebuilding project the Quakes are embarking on this off-season, and the first move made while Jesse Fioranelli was the team’s GM (although, obviously, the deal was in the works before Fioranelli was named).