SAN JOSE, Calif. — After three roller-coaster seasons with the San Jose Earthquakes, Bobby Convey said Thursday he won’t be returning for a fourth.
“There’s no chance I’m coming back,” Convey said after training on Thursday. "No chance. I will not be back here."
He also charged Quakes coach Frank Yallop with a lack of communication and “mind games” as Convey fluctuated in and out of the lineup this year.
Technically, the decision to return in 2012 does not belong to Convey; the Quakes hold the final one-year option on his contract. But Convey, an All-Star in 2010 and 2011, said he was told in “May or June” that the option would not be picked up.
San Jose general manager John Doyle said on Thursday no final decision on Convey — or any other player — will be reached until after Saturday’s season finale against FC Dallas. When asked, however, Yallop told reporters: “You’ll know soon enough what we’re doing. Chances are probably not.”
Last month, Yallop made his thoughts known generally about the direction of the squad when he said he was “actually excited ... to clean out some people. They can go on with their careers and we can move on as a club.”
On Thursday, the coach explained that Convey, among the club’s highest-paid players, hadn’t returned to the starting lineup in nearly two months because other players were performing admirably. Second-year man Justin Morrow has established himself at left back, and Simon Dawkins, the talented midfielder on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, has been used on the left wing.
“He is not on the [first] team because the team’s played well,” Yallop said of Convey. “That’s it. That’s the only reason. ... In this game, it’s nothing personal with anybody.”
Convey has made 21 appearances and 19 starts for San Jose this season, bouncing between left midfield and left back. He was dropped on three occasions from the starting XI and hasn’t played competitively since Aug. 27.
However, Convey revealed on Thursday that he has been dealing with a significant off-the-field issue this season: His wife Sloane was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in December and underwent surgery to remove a tumor just before the season began, leading to sleepless nights spent at O’Connor Hospital in San Jose.
“That was very difficult,” Convey said. “I didn’t play bad because of that. It wasn’t like an excuse, but it was eye-opening, how important it is to be happy in life. And I’m just not happy here. I haven’t been treated well. What else is there to say?”
That’s not to say there haven’t been happy moments during Convey’s up-and-down time in San Jose. He joined the Quakes in 2009 after having a promising career with English side Reading derailed by injury, and in his first year failed to wow observers.
But in 2010, a fully fit Convey proved an integral part of San Jose’s attack, delivering a career-high 10 assists. Most memorably, he scored twice in the Quakes’ 3-1 road victory to knock top-seeded New York out of the playoffs.
“We brought Bobby in here three years ago and I think there were a lot of expectations placed upon him,” Doyle said on Thursday. “We were really excited with the way he played in New York in that playoff game and thank Bobby for all his efforts.”
Convey acknowledged that he will depart with mixed feelings.
“It’s between sad and mad, honestly, because I’m sad to leave these guys," he said. "I’m friends with everyone here. Really close. It’s been fun, a lot of fun to have friends my own age on my own team.
“I want to leave here not bitter. I want to leave happy with what we did [in 2010]. The team’s won two games in the last , so I don’t think it’s all down to the players. I haven’t even played in half of those games. ... When I was fit, I was on the bench. You’ll have to ask [Yallop] what he was thinking.”
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com. On Twitter: @sjquakes