SAN JOSE, CA - The San Jose Earthquakes announced today that eight-year veteran Troy Dayak will be honored on the field in a presentation following the Quakes final regular season home match on Saturday, October 8 against Real Salt Lake. Dayak, who has been out since May 14 after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee, has announced his retirement from the Earthquakes following this season. The game kicks off at 7:00 p.m. PT.
A 2001 MLS All-Star and the 2001 MLS Comeback Player of the Year, Dayak demonstrated total dedication and excellence for the Earthquakes for eight seasons. The hard-nosed defender scored one of the most important goals in club history, putting the Quakes into their first MLS Cup in 2001 with his golden goal in Game Three of the MLS Cup Playoff semifinals against the Miami Fusion. A Northern California soccer great, Dayak appeared in 129 games for San Jose, starting 122 and scoring nine goals and registering seven assists. Dayak ranks fifth in San Jose history in games started and sixth all-time in games played and fifth in career minutes played with 10,830. Dayak will always be remembered for his strong play and even stronger presence both on and off the field.
"I have been playing professionally at Spartan Stadium since I was 17 years old," Dayak said. "There are so many people that have made playing there such a great experience and have been a huge part of my life for so many years. It hasn't been just the guys that I played with, it has been everyone that has been involved with the team in every capacity that has made it memorable and I want to thank each and every one of them. There are a lot of people that I will miss, including all the fans. It will be great to be down on the field again and to see the fans one last time from that vantage point."
"The Beast" starred at Livermore High School and the University of San Francisco before joining the professional San Francisco Bay Blackhawks (American Professional Soccer League) at age 17 as the youngest player ever in APSL history. Born in Walnut Creek, Dayak was a member of the original MLS team in San Jose, the Clash, in 1996.
During the post game festivities, the Earthquakes will present Dayak with several special gifts to commemorate his accomplishments with the team.
"I am thankful to all of the good people in the organization for considering me for this honor," Dayak said. "I appreciate all the efforts that everyone, from the staff to the coaches and players and the stadium crew has made. I just want to thank everyone involved that will be a part of this on Saturday night."
"Troy is a great person who has always been an asset to our team," Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear said. "He has made an impact in the sport both locally and nationally, and was a great player who represented his country at all levels. The Bay Area has been fortunate to have a person like Troy be from this area and play professionally here for his entire career."
Dayak's career has always been highlighted by his struggle with major injuries. Dayak suffered a herniated disc in his neck in 1996 and after extensive rehabilitation returned for the 1997 season. However, Dayak's career was thought to be over following another neck injury in 1997. After surgery and a number of months away from athletic competition in 1997, Dayak returned to the Clash in 1998, but was released after that season. Dayak then spent two seasons with the Bay Area Seals of the A-League and overcame a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in 1999 to lead all A-League defenders in scoring in the 2000 season.
In 2001, Dayak was re-signed by the Quakes and responded with his best MLS season, playing in 25 games and scoring two goals, while helping the team allow a team record low 29 goals. He earned MLS Comeback Player of the Year honors that year and was also named an MLS All-Star in 2001 and wore the captain's armband in the MLS All-Star Game played at Spartan Stadium. In the playoffs, he played in every game, helping San Jose win their first-ever MLS Cup Championship. He was also named the team's Humanitarian of the Year in 2001 for his efforts in the community.
Despite battling injuries, Dayak helped lead San Jose to a second MLS Cup Championship in 2003 and played in 40 games from 2002 - 2004. This season, Dayak scored one goal while playing every minute of the Quakes first six games.
A member of the 1992 United States Olympic Team, Dayak was a star for the United States National Team at the Under-20 and Under-23 levels. He also made 11 appearances for the senior U.S. team.
Dayak will continue to remain involved in the sport locally, currently serving as the Vice President of Soccer Operations and head coach of the California Cougars of the MISL and the Technical Director for Livermore Youth Soccer.