The San Jose Earthquakes acquired defender Danny Califf from the Los Angeles Galaxy Wednesday in exchange for a portion of an allocation, adding another young defender to their squad.
"We are glad to bring in another experienced MLS defender who will help the team and our defense for the 2005 season," said Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear. "Danny is a good player who has been a part of winning teams in the past, and we are excited to add a top-flight defender to our roster."
Califf is entering his fifth MLS season after an injury-plagued 2004 campaign. The 25-year-old injured his right knee twice last year, spraining his medial collateral ligament in May and then tearing his meniscus during the summer. Califf worked his way back into the Galaxy lineup late in the season, and he was optimistic about this season before tearing his right meniscus again in February. There is no timetable for his return to the field.
When he is healthy, Califf is one of the best young defenders in the league. Selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2000 MLS SuperDraft, Califf played 103 matches for the Galaxy in four seasons, helping the club win the 2001 U.S. Open Cup title and the 2002 MLS Cup. In 2003, Califf began to regularly appear for the U.S. national team, making nine appearances that year. He has made a total of 12 appearances for Bruce Arena's club, but none since his first knee injury last spring.
"I am looking forward to joining the team," said Califf. "I have played with a lot of guys on the team, including the general manager (Alexi Lalas). They are all quality people and I am excited to get up there and start playing."
Based on Califf's contract status, the Galaxy said the time was right to part ways with the 24-year-old defender.
"On behalf of the Galaxy, I would like to thank Danny for all of his contributions to our club over the last five seasons. We wish Danny, his wife Erin and their daughter Paige all the best," said L.A. Galaxy President and General Manager Doug Hamilton. "Let's be very clear, we are disappointed to be trading Danny. However, based on his desire to play abroad, coupled with his contract expiring in nine months, we decided, as part of our long term plans, to make a move now that would ensure us of receiving the greatest value in return."
In order to comply with MLS roster rules, the Quakes have reclassified defender Kevin Goldthwaite as a developmental player.
Also on Wednesday, the Galaxy signed three players to developmental contracts. Defender Ben Benditson and midfielders Mubarike "Mamba" Chisoni and Herculez Gomez have all joined the Green and Gold.
Both Benditson and Chisoni had successful collegiate careers, Benditson at Cal State-Northridge and Chisoni at Coastal Carolina. Gomez has previous experience with the Galaxy, having signed with the club as a developmental player in 2002. He was on the Galaxy roster when the club won MLS Cup 2002, and he has further professional experience with the San Diego Sockers of the Major Indoor Soccer League and the San Diego Gauchos of the D3 Pro League.
Jason Halpin is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.