SAN JOSE, Calif. — At 35 years old, goalkeeper Jon Busch is currently the most senior member of the San Jose Earthquakes.
And the club would like to keep it that way for a few more years.
The Quakes announced Wednesday that they have reached an agreement on a contract extension with Busch, who made a multitude of spectacular saves last season while facing more shots than any other MLS goalkeeper. The deal is guaranteed in 2013 and contains a team option for 2014. As per league policy, details of the compensation were not released.
“It was the first thing we talked about in November, at the end of the season, was getting it done and not making it difficult for anybody,” Busch said. “I wanted to be here. I believe in what John [Doyle, San Jose general manager] and Frank [Yallop, Quakes head coach] are doing here, and I want to help out in any way I can.”
The Quakes originally scooped up Busch after he was let go by Chicago just after the start of the 2010 season. Busch split time that year with longtime Quakes star Joe Cannon, but the franchise cast its lot with Busch during that winter, exposing Cannon to the 2011 MLS Expansion Draft, where he was selected by Vancouver.
Last year, as the undisputed No. 1, Busch made a league-high 114 saves in the regular season and stopped 70.8 percent of the shots he faced, good for seventh-best on the MLS leaderboard. Busch played through a broken cheekbone, wearing a plastic mask for parts of several matches; the only match he missed was at the request of the team, giving rookie David Bingham some seasoning after the Quakes were eliminated from playoff contention.
“We’re excited [with] the way that he’s played here, his professionalism,” Doyle said. “Even in a season where I think as a team we struggled at times, I think he had an MVP season last year. He kept us in games all the time. He was terrific last year and is a good leader back there and great to have.”
Said Busch: “I want the boys to know and the coaches to know that when they turn around and see me back there, they’re going to have a consistent goalkeeper, game in and game out, year in and year out.”
Although the new deal could keep Busch in San Jose for the next three years, he’s open to staying even longer with the Quakes, having found a new home after spending three years with the Fire and five with the Columbus Crew.
“I’m very happy being here,” Busch said. “I told them I wanted to pledge my future here. I want to stay the rest of my career here, however long that’s going to be. As John and I said the other day when we talked, if I’m still doing it, doing the business and feeling good [after this extension], then we’ll extend it longer. If at that point it’s time to hang ‘em up, then we’ll cross that bridge too.”
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org