The San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday removed the interim tag and named Mark Watson as the club's head coach, inking the Canadian to a multi-year contract.
The 43-year-old Watson took over for former manager Frank Yallop on June 7 and he led the Quakes' revival in the second half of the season as the team closed out the 2013 campaign with an 11-5-3 record. San Jose narrowly missed out on the playoffs on the total goals tiebreaker after finishing even on 51 points with playoffs qualifier Colorado Rapids in the Western Conference.
The Quakes also advanced to the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals under Watson, finishing tops in Group 5 ahead of the Montreal Impact and Heredia.
“Mark inherited an adverse situation, but he found a way to qualify the club for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals and nearly rallied us to an MLS Cup Playoff berth," Earthquakes president Dave Kaval said in a club statement. "We look forward to having Mark on our sideline as we continue to move toward a new era of Earthquakes soccer.”
Among the Quakes highlights under Watson in 2013: They went undefeated at home (8-0-1), they finished the MLS season on a seven-match unbeaten streak (5-0-2) and they registered eight shutouts in his 19 matches in charge.
“I'm very excited for the opportunity. We have a great group here and I’m grateful for the chance to be here on a permanent deal,” Watson said in a club statement. “I think the club is heading in the right direction and look forward to building on the success we had at the end of this season.”
Watson, who played in MLS for Columbus, New England and D.C. United, was an Earthquakes assistant coach since 2010, before taking on the interim head coach role on June 7 when the club parted ways with Yallop. He also previously served as an assistant coach in the Canadian national team set-up as well as at USL PRO side Charleston Battery.