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San Jose Earthquakes sign rookie Thomas Williamson

Then loan him out to Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

MLS: 2021 San Jose Media Day USA TODAY NETWORK

The San Jose Earthquakes announced on Friday they have signed forward Thomas Williamson on a one-year contract, with club options through the 2024 season. The Earthquakes also announced they have loaned Williamson to USL Championship side Pittsburgh Riverhounds for the 2021 season.

The 21-year-old was San Jose’s first-round 2021 MLS SuperDraft pick, out of Cal, at No. 12 overall. He scored nine goals in 18 appearances in 2019, his junior season, before his senior campaign was effectively cancelled because of the coronavirus shutdown.

The Riverhounds are one of the USL Championship’s mainstays, their history dating back all the way to the A-League in 1999. Currently coached by Bob Lilley, a legend in the division, his teams tend to be absolutely rock-solid in defense and perennial contenders. It’s an interesting opportunity for Williamson, who if he sees regular playing time will probably not be part of a free-flowing attack but will only have to score one goal most games in order for the Riverhounds to win.

It’s unclear if Williamson’s loan includes a right of recall by San Jose, but that’s typically part of a loan like this. Pittsburgh’s season kicks off May 8 against Tampa Bay Rowdies, and we’ll keep an eye on how he does in the season to come.

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