'Quakes look at offseason overhaul

September 30, 2011, 10:15 pm
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SANTA CLARA -- With the Earthquakesplayoff hopes existing almost exclusively in the realm of theory the team inall likelihood will need a win to stay alive this weekend thoughts are slowlyturning towards the teams rebuilding for the 2012 season. After a largelydisappointing 2011, it is only natural to expect there will be some changeswithin the team, and head coach Frank Yallop said as much. We can clean out some people and they can go on and get onwith their careers and we can move on as a club, Yallop said of his teamsoff-season plans. While Yallop would not point to any specific players, hemade clear what he expected from his players and explained that those whowerent meeting his expectations would be the ones You should play hard every minute of every game. I know theones that do that and the ones that dont do that wont be here, so thatspretty clear, he said, clarifying that the last four games of the season wouldnot provide an opportunity to make a new impression. Yallops position his been further strengthened by the factthat he will likely have more money to make roster moves in the off-season.While the Earthquakes have generally been at or near the bottom of the leaguein terms of overall salary, comments from Yallop and general manager John Doyleindicated that the ownership group would be making money available in additionto the money freed up by departing players. It will be a busy off-season for us to add some players,but looks like we should have some good tools to do that with some money fromthe ownership group, some money from players leaving, so hopefully we canreplace them with some good quality players that we need, Yallop said. To be fair, I think well probably go both routes, Doylesaid, when asked if hed rather sign one high-salary player or a fewlower-salary players. I think were going to throw everything we can at it andownership has said that much. One potential issue for the teams management, however, isthat among the players whose future is uncertain is one that has actuallyperformed quite well in his first year with the Earthquakes young midfielderSimon Dawkins. The 23-year-old joined the team on loan from English PremierLeague outfit and Earthquakes club partner Tottenham Hotspur, and has fit rightin, having overcome a long battle with injuries. He has scored four goals and notched an assist in his 22appearances for the team, with his good vision and ball skills providing acreative spark in the teams attack. As recognition for his season ofcontributions, Dawkins was recently ranked 21st on mlssoccer.coms24 Under 24 list of the best young players in MLS under the age of 24. Simons been playing well, hes playing most weeks if hesnot injured Yallop said. If he has any hopes and dreams of going back toTottenham, which he does playing here is going to help him do that. Despite all his success with the Earthquakes, Dawkinsfuture is very much up in the air. His loan deal will end at the end of theseason and his Tottenham contract runs until 2013. While he his found a placeto get regular playing time in the Bay Area, he could very well find himself inhigher demand in the off-season, a a result of his improved play. Ive still got two more years at Tottenham, so I want toplay somewhere next season, whether it be, who knows, but Im just working hardto keep my fitness up and it will take care of itself at the end of the day, sowell wait and see, Dawkins said, though he added, Yeah, of course, whenasked if he would return to San Jose, given the opportunity. Ultimately, Dawkins goal is to return to Tottenham andbreak into the first team squad there. Its no mean feat, but for Dawkins, itsa childhood dream. Its my team when I was growing up, Ive been there since Iwas 13, Dawkins said. Its somewhere where I would like to play and if itdoes happen, then it will be a dream come true, but if it doesnt, then theresother teams around the world, so well see what we can do. With Tottenham firmly in the upper echelon of Premier Leagueteams and competition for a place in the squad fierce, it is unlikely thatDawkins will feature for the first team in the near future. In the meantime,the Earthquakes management will be hoping to cement Dawkins return for 2012 asone of the multitude of tasks ahead to restore the team to winningways.For more Earthquakes, MLS and world soccerchatter, you can follow Nick Rosano on Twitter: @nicholasrosano

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