Almeyda: Quakes "will be totally different" in 12-18 months thanks to youth

Matias Almeyda - San Jose Earthquakes - close-up - pointing

If fans don’t like the look of the San Jose Earthquakes at present, just wait a year or so, promised head coach Matias Almeyda after Saturday’s international friendly vs. CF Monterrey.

The Quakes lost 2-1 to the Mexican giants at Avaya Stadium, another defeat for a side that’s stumbled to an 0-3 start in MLS play. But the goal scored by 15-year-old HomegrownCade Cowell provided a bright spot – and a preview of the future, according to their charismatic new coach.

“The moment San Jose is facing is difficult because they only won four games last year, and the youth should not carry the weight of changing the club,” said Almeyda postgame. “We need to go step-by-step with the younger players and develop them into ambitious players that really know the system of play, and know the lifestyle of a soccer player, and from that point don't burn them out.

“Our objective in a year to a year and a half is to have many young players, and they should know what they play, how to play it, and why they play it.”

Cowell, who signed his HGP deal in January, came off the bench in the second half along with fellow Homegrowns Gilbert Fuentes and Tommy Thompson (who assisted on Saturday's goal), while youngsters Eric Calvillo and Siad Haji also saw minutes.

“He's a 15-year-old player. He's very young,” said Almeyda of Cowell. “I gave him and Gilbert some time today, and it's only their first steps in a senior team at the professional level. We need to go step by step with them. They have the best example in front of them, a historic goal-scorer in Chris [Wondolowski]. In a year to a year and a half, this team will be totally different.”

The respected Argentine manager known as Pelado took the opportunity to urge his youngest charges to seize their chances, and to do so for intrinsic reasons rather than financial ones.

“In general I want them to play for love, not thinking about become famous or becoming millionaires. One of the youngsters we have here has a nice car,” noted Almeyda. “I don't like that. When I got here, he already had it. If I'd have been here I wouldn't have allowed it.”