Frank Yallop

Yallop relishes shot to lead Quakes

For Frank Yallop, there were some compelling reasons against a return to the San Jose Earthquakes.

Setting up an expansion team has its unique challenges. So does playing in a temporary, undersized venue. Then there is the difficulty of trying to match past glories. But in the plus column, there was one factor that dwarfed any other concerns.

"I felt wanted," said Yallop during his unveiling as the Quakes' head coach on Tuesday. And that, more than anything explains his resignation as head coach of the Los Angeles Galaxy last Sunday, and his subsequent arrival in San Jose.

Yallop's sentiments were visible in his body language as well. The Quakes' new manager looked like a man who had just been paroled, and in a way, he had. The just-concluded season was easily the most difficult of Yallop's coaching career, with injuries, a packed schedule, and the circus surrounding David Beckham all combining to scuttle L.A.'s season.

When the Quakes came calling shortly after the end of the campaign, the Galaxy organization was poised to wield the axe on their manager. It all added up to one clear decision for Yallop -- especially given the confidence that San Jose general manager John Doyle was ready to place in him.

"[Doyle] said to me, 'I want you to lead this team, do what you do best, and just get on with it,'" said Yallop. "That's important. It's good to know that you can make decisions that are going to be clear and decisive."

The move represents a coup for Doyle, who from the moment he was hired had worked to bring Yallop aboard. Some eyebrows have been raised at the fact that L.A. extracted a third-round draft pick from San Jose in exchange for a coach that they likely would have fired anyway. Doyle contends that it was a good bit of business.

"Is [Yallop], in my eyes, worth a third-round draft pick? Yes," said Doyle. "Is Frank worth a Designated Player? Yes. I think that he's worth a lot for us to be able to have him at the start, especially with an expansion team. His demeanor, his credibility, his knowledge is great for us."

Doyle also added that with other coaching vacancies beginning to open up, the pressure to move quickly was greater than it appeared.

"There are coaches in the league that are teetering," said Doyle. "If Yallop became available, would [those teams] want Frank? I think they would."

One general perception of Yallop's tenure in L.A. is that he spent much of his time feuding with Galaxy general manager Alexi Lalas over personnel. The full extent of their relationship might never be known, but Doyle was careful to lay out how he expects his relationship with Yallop to work.

"The personnel decisions will be made by [Yallop] and myself," said Doyle. "But if it becomes an argument, the tie will always go to Frank, because they are his players. I don't need to be right. I want to make sure he's comfortable."

That arrangement will be put to a near immediate test with the Expansion Draft set to take place several days after the MLS Cup Final. Last year, Toronto used the draft as a means to an end, wheeling and dealing to the point that none of the players they selected finished the season with them. While it seems unlikely that San Jose will be as active, Yallop indicated that he and Doyle will be taking a similar approach and then fill in the gaps from there.

"We don't have any players yet," said Yallop. "But I'm looking forward to getting the first one ... and then we'll start building a team that can be team."

Jeff Carlisle is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

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