The San Jose Earthquakes commenced their offseason plans in the past few weeks. And based on the players they retained, they made the perfect start.
Following the Seattle Sounders’ triumph over Toronto FC in the MLS Cup Final, Major League Soccer enters the offseason with preparations gearing up towards the 2020 season.
And for the San Jose Earthquakes, despite missing the playoffs, there is a lot of reason to be hopeful for the year ahead.
The big story is of course local and MLS legend Chris Wondolowski sticking around for another year. It is difficult to imagine the Earthquakes without Wondolowski. As much fun as he is wherever he’s involved in this organization, including hanging out with the Ultras when he can’t play, the Diablo Valley native proved he has plenty of gas left in the tank with his performances in 2019.
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The most exciting non-Wondolowski related news is the retention of Brazilian midfielder, Judson, the San Jose Earthquakes agreeing to a permanent deal in late October. Judson was signed on loan from Brazilian club Tombense in the 6th tier of Brazil’s pyramid. To say the Quakes have unearthed a diamond in the rough relatively speaking would be accurate.
For a league like MLS, it is crucial for teams to unearth these types of talents from unheard places. If you are not one of the top five leagues in Europe, you must find success in recruiting players from unlikely sources. It is not possible to sign the stars, but it is possible to acquire players like Ezequiel Barco and Miguel Almiron — Atlanta United, incidentally, are excellent at this scouting and acquiring process. This is what the San Jose Earthquakes must accomplish. In Judson, they have done precisely that. Now, they must supplement an enticing roster with more signings of a similar ilk.
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Defender Florian Jungwirth has also been confirmed to stick around for another season at the Avaya Stadium. The German defender has not had the easiest of times with the Earthquakes, but he has not been put into the best positions to succeed, either. He has been asked to shore up so many holes across San Jose’s backline that it is unreasonable to expect excellent performances at every position. But now with better players around him, he has less pressure on his shoulders and should flourish as a rest.
If the San Jose Earthquakes are to make a playoff appearance and hopefully a playoff run in 2020, additions will need to be made. But they will come as the offseason progresses. For now, retaining the core players that got the team within touching distance of the playoffs is of the utmost importance.
That is precisely what the club has done. Each of the players the San Jose Earthquakes has tied down for this season has proven their worth and has more to give. And that is a very positive start to the offseason indeed.