The San Jose Earthquakes announced Sunday they have traded defender Nick Lima to Austin FC, in exchange for $500,000 in general allocation money.
Lima, 26, just wrapped up his fourth season with the Earthquakes, and in each campaign he’s played at least 20 games. The Homegrown signing in 2017 out of Cal made 100 MLS regular season appearances with San Jose and played in the playoff game for the club in 2020.
“Considering how much Nick means to our club, it’s hard to prepare yourself for a farewell,” said Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli in a team statement. “Together we worked on building a homegrown career with a perspective and after four years, we realize all of us have so much more to look back on. As a person and as a player, Nick set a high standard in terms of work ethic and integrity that all young players can look up to. The same way Nick always wanted the best for the club, we wish him nothing but the best moving forward. We believe San Jose, Austin and Nick will all benefit from this opportunity and I would like to thank all parties involved for their role in getting this accomplished.”
Lima is one of three trades made by 2021 expansion club Austin FC on Sunday, alongside picking up Ben Sweat from Inter Miami and Ulises Segura from D.C. United. Lima’s haul of $500,000 in GAM is by far the most of the three (Sweat garnered $100,000 and Segura $150,000), and Lima appears to be the fullback to have garnered the largest cash amount in a trade in league history to date.
“I have been fortunate to be a part of the Earthquakes organization for a long time, both at the youth and First Team levels,” said Lima. “I want to thank the Quakes for giving me a chance to begin my professional career with my hometown club and I’ll forever be grateful for the opportunity to play in front of my friends and family. I’m excited about this new opportunity with Austin FC and am looking forward to helping a new and exciting club make its mark on Major League Soccer in 2021.”
Lima has been an important piece for the Earthquakes and a player who I think has been underrated both locally and nationally. He may be the best pure crosser of the ball in MLS, and he’s progressed defensively each season. This past season, he was masterful in locking down the likes of Cristian Pavón and Diego Rossi and while he’s gotten some call-ups to the U.S. Men’s National Team, I think he really deserves more looks, because he’s blossomed into a stellar right back who can also play on the left.
For the Quakes, in addition to the money, it appears either they will look to Tommy Thompson to be the starter moving forward at right back or they will be bringing in another player to compete with TomThom for that spot. It’s a bittersweet occasion, but a change of scenery may push Lima and the Quakes to get even better moving forward.
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