The Earthquakes returned from winning the preseason Carolina Challenge Cup late in the evening on Saturday, March 26. The Quakes resumed training on Monday and Tuesday and will continue with practices throughout the week as the club prepares for the 2005 season opener against the New England Revolution on Saturday, April 2 at 7 p.m. PT at Spartan Stadium. The Quakes were greeted by three new faces in training upon returning home, as Dwayne De Rosario, who had been with the Canadian national team, Brian Mullan (U.S. national team) and recently acquired defender Danny Califf all were at practice.
Catching up with Califf
The newest member of the Earthquakes arrived in San Jose late on Sunday night after a long drive up the California coast from his former home, in Los Angeles. Califf joined the Quakes on March 23 in a trade with the Galaxy. The five-year veteran is currently recovering from a knee injury and did not participate in practice due to a sprained right MCL. Califf did work out on the side with San Jose head athletic trainer Bruce Morgan, as he works on a return to action. With a total of five other former Galaxy players on the roster (Chris Aloisi, Brian Ching, Brian Mullan, Craig Waibel and Alejandro Moreno), Califf is finding himself able to fit in quite well with the Quakes.
What were your thoughts when you found out that you had been traded to the Earthquakes?
Danny Califf: "I was excited. I knew that it had been talked about for a while; it was no secret that L.A. wanted to trade me because of contract issues and some other things. I always said that San Jose was my first choice. I am just really happy that everything worked out and I was able to get here and be a part of this team."
Now that you are a part of this team, how have you been able to adjust to being a part of the Quakes?
DC: "It has been real easy. Having guys that I know here makes such a big difference; it really makes things so much easier. I already know five guys, so anytime you are coming into a locker room where you know some people, rather than being a total stranger, it is much better. Everyone else has been great too, but having those guys here that I know to help me out has made a difference already."
Last season you played in a career low 13 games because of injury, and you are starting this season recovering from a knee injury. How is the rehabilitation going?
DC: "It is going pretty well, and I hope to be back soon. I am not going to push it though. Last year, I had several injuries and I kept coming back too soon, because I wanted to get out on the field. It was tough, because I ended up hurting myself worse and missing more time than if I had just let myself rest. Right now, I am just going to listen to Bruce [Morgan, Earthquakes head athletic trainer] and do what he thinks is best for me. I have been able to work out and keep getting ready for the season, so hopefully I won't be out too long."
It has been a hectic first few days here in San Jose, but what are your first impressions of the 2005 Earthquakes?
DC: "They have been good. I can tell that everyone on this team is going to work hard. The 11 v. 11 scrimmage was very good and fast paced. I have always like the way San Jose plays, and I think the biggest thing that I have noticed with this team is the character of guys that are here. Every player is going to work hard and shows a lot of determination, and that is something that you can't coach. That is something that is instilled in the players, and that feeling is definitely here. I think the team is looking good."
De Rosario Back with Quakes
Earthquakes forward Dwayne De Rosario practiced with the Earthquakes on Monday and Tuesday for the first time since the club left for Charleston on March 16. De Rosario did not join the Quakes for the Carolina Challenge Cup, instead traveling to Portugal with the Canadian National Team for an international exhibition against the Portuguese National Team in Barcelos, Portugal. Canada was defeated 4-1 by a strong Portuguese squad that featured many of their highly decorated players.
De Rosario started at forward for Frank Yallop's squad and played the entire 90 minutes.
"It was a lot of fun, " De Rosario said about the trip and game. "Of course we would have liked to score some more goals, but it was a great experience. We trained in a resort town in Portugal before the game, and to play against some of those guys was just great for myself and the team."
De Rosario re-signed with the Earthquakes on March 7 for the 2005 season.
Earthquakes midfielder Brian Mullan has spent much of the preseason training with the U.S. National Team. Mullan has missed the majority of the Quakes practice sessions and exhibition games, although he was briefly in Charleston with the Quakes for a day before returning to San Jose to be with his wife, who is expecting the couple's first child.
In preparation for Saturday's match, however, Mullan has been practicing and attempting to get re-acclimated with the 2005 edition of the Quakes.
"Unfortunately this preseason, Brian Ching and I haven't been around as much as we would have wanted to," Mullan said. "We were in Florida with the team, and from then until now, you can see that the team has really come together. Being away from the team you can really see the team grow and the young players start to mature."
Earthquakes defender Eddie Robinson resumed practicing on Monday as well, just nine days after suffering a nasal fracture and a concussion in a violent collision with D.C. United's David Stokes in a game at the Carolina Challenge Cup. Robinson participated in the full training while wearing a facemask, and is expected to play on Saturday protected by the clear equipment.
"I don't like wearing it," Robinson said. "I can't wait until I can just take it off."