SAN JOSE, Calif. — A year ago, Simon Dawkins was just looking to get on the field with the San Jose Earthquakes. Now, he’s looking to put that time to more efficient use.
Playing on loan from English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur, Dawkins scored six times in 26 matches with the Quakes last season — a total he’s looking to top in 2012.
“This year, [the goal] is obviously to do better on my finishing and score more goals,” Dawkins told reporters this week. “Hopefully this year, I can score a lot more and assist on a lot more.”
WATCH: Dawkins goes upper 90 on Dallas
The Quakes wouldn’t mind that one bit. San Jose waited patiently through the winter as Spurs — one of their partner clubs — explored the idea of selling Dawkins or loaning him out elsewhere in Europe.
“I improved with every single game I played with the Earthquakes,” Dawkins said. “I’ve come a long way, and I noticed that when I went back to Tottenham, because I was playing with a different kind of confidence.”
Eventually, the 24-year-old wound up back with the Quakes, where his career reignited last year after injuries had stalled his progress.
“I’m really happy to be back,” Dawkins said. “It’s somewhere I’ve been before, so I’m familiar with everyone here. Obviously, we’ve got some new players as well, but I know the coaches well.”
Dawkins spent the winter training with Spurs, and was even named to the club’s 25-man roster for the remainder of Premier League play.
He’s expected to be available Saturday when San Jose open their season against New England, although it doesn’t currently look as though he’s in line to start. Rafael Baca lined up Thursday with the Quakes’ first XI as an attacking midfielder, and Shea Salinas manned the left wing, filling both of Dawkins’ most likely positions; Dawkins played wide left for the second team.
“Simon’s sharp,” Quakes coach Frank Yallop said. “He’s been training at Tottenham, so there’s no doubt he can contribute and play. So it’s good to have him.”
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.