SAN JOSE, CA - The San Jose Earthquakes announced today that the club has signed five players with California ties to developmental contracts for the 2005 season. Robbie Fulton, Julian Nash, Orlando Ramirez, Brett Rodriguez and Chris Wondolowski will be placed on the Quakes 10-player developmental roster this season. Wondolowski, Rodriguez and Fulton were selected by the Quakes in the February 4 MLS Supplemental Draft, while Ramirez was chosen by the Quakes in the third round of the MLS SuperDraft on January 14. Nash arrived in a trade last Friday. In keeping with club policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.
"We are happy to sign five young players to our expanded roster," Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear said. "We feel these players will be able to develop and have good MLS careers."
Fulton, 22, is a highly regarded goalkeeper out of Stanford University. In four years at Stanford, Fulton left his mark in the record books, setting the all-time record for lowest goals against average in a season (0.43 in 2002) and accumulating one of the best goals against averages (0.89) in Stanford history while serving as the 2004 Cardinal captain.
"I'm enthusiastic about being a part of this team and the goalkeeper's union here," Fulton said. "I've been following MLS for several years and it is a great feeling to be able to play here and work under the tutelage of [Earthquakes and Stanford Goalkeeper Coach] Tim Hanley again."
Nash, a former San Leandro High School standout, played four seasons at Creighton and finished his college career with 18 goals and 22 assists. In his senior year, Nash, 22, scored six goals and dished out a team-high nine assists and was named a semifinalist for the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy. He was also named first-team NSCAA all-Midwest Region and earned all-Missouri Valley Conference honors.
"Having been born and raised in the Bay Area, I am definitely happy to join the Earthquakes," said Nash. "I just want to take advantage of this opportunity and contribute as much as I can."
Fresno, CA native Ramirez, 21, becomes a member of the Quakes after completing one of the most successful careers in Fresno Pacific's history. Ramirez was the only NAIA player taken in the 2005 MLS Draft, making an impression after scoring 23 goals and contributing 15 assists in 2004. Ramirez ended his collegiate career by earning NAIA All-American First Team honors in 2003 and 2004.
"I'm excited to be a part of a team that has a great history in MLS," Ramirez said. "This preseason has been a great experience for me, and I think this team has a chance to have a really good season."
Rodriguez, 21, comes to the Quakes following a strong college career at Creighton University. The Saratoga, CA native and former Bellarmine Prep star was part of one of the top defenses in the country at Creighton, and was named to the NSCAA/adidas Midwest Region First Team and All-Missouri Valley Conference First Team in 2004.
"I am real excited to get a chance to play for the team that I grew up watching," Rodriguez said. "It's a great opportunity for me to play with some of the nation's best players and a great chance for me to improve as well."
Wondolowski, 22, is a Danville, CA native and starred at De La Salle High School in Concord, CA before going on to play at Chico State University. The midfielder joins the Quakes after being named to his fourth-straight California Collegiate Athletic Association First Team in 2004, while scoring five goals and registering two assists for Chico State. Wondolowski completed a successful collegiate career that saw him earn Second Team All-American honors in 2003 as Chico won the CCAA Championship.
"It has always been a dream of mine to be a professional athlete, especially with the Quakes," Wondolowski said. "I have grown up watching them from when they were the Clash, and now to be a part of this team is a dream come true."
The Earthquakes open the MLS regular season at home on Saturday, April 2 against the New England Revolution at 7:00 p.m.
Transaction: San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) - Earthquakes sign GK Robbie Fulton, F Julian Nash, F Orlando Ramirez, D Brett Rodriguez, and M Chris Wondolowski to developmental contracts.