Quakes trialing former EPL defender with eye to 2013

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Even as they chase hardware this season, the San Jose Earthquakes are keeping an eye on 2013 – which is why they’ve brought in former English Premier League left back Jordan Stewart for a 10-day trial.

Stewart, currently out of contract, last played for Millwall in England’s second tier during the 2011-12 season. The 30-year-old defender was brought to San Jose’s attention by former Quakes forward Darren Huckerby, another EPL vet who crossed paths with Stewart in a charity match.

“I got a phone call from Darren Huckerby about Jordan,” San Jose coach Frank Yallop told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “[Stewart] had showed interest to Darren about coming to MLS, and Darren did his homework and said, ‘He’s a good player, so take a look at him.’”

Stewart started at left back for the Quakes in their 2-0 win over LA Galaxy in a Reserve League match on Tuesday. Yallop said Stewart should also see time in San Jose’s friendly against Mexican side San Luis FC on Thursday.

Although Stewart can join an MLS team immediately as a free agent, Yallop said the Quakes are looking at him strictly as a possibility for next year. The club is currently well-stocked at left back, but captain Ramiro Corrales, who has started 12 of San Jose’s 26 matches there, will turn 36 next March. Like Corrales, Stewart plays primarily as a left back or at left midfield.

Stewart broke in as a professional with Leicester City in 1999, subsequently landing with Watford, Derby County, Sheffield United and Millwall at various levels in England. He also spent 2010-11 with Greek side Skoda Xanthi.

Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at sanjosequakes@gmail.com.