San Jose Earthquakes sign defender Craig Waibel to new contract for 2005 season

SAN JOSE - The San Jose Earthquakes announced today that the club has signed defender Craig Waibel to a new contract with Major League Soccer and the Earthquakes. In keeping with club policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.

"We are happy to have Craig back," Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear said. "He is a versatile player who can help our back-line, and with several players leaving, it is good to have a player who has been here and knows the way we approach the game."

Entering his third season in San Jose, Waibel has proven to be one of the Quakes most consistent defenders, showing his versatility and appearing in 23 games in 2004 while scoring his first MLS goal and registering one assist. Waibel, 29, appeared in a career high 24 games for the Quakes in 2003, helping San Jose to the MLS Cup as he made his third consecutive trip to the MLS championship game. The six-year MLS veteran has appeared in all six of the Quakes playoff matches over the last two seasons, and recorded his first playoff goal in the 2004 Western Conference Semifinals vs. Kansas City on Oct. 24.

"I am happy to sign with this team and return to San Jose," Waibel said. "It gives me a chance to help this team that has the potential to return to the MLS Cup. I think we have brought in a lot of new, exciting players like Ronald Cerritos and Ricardo Clark, and I am ready to play with them. With these additions and some others, this can definitely be an MLS Cup team."

The Earthquakes begin preseason training for the 2005 season on Tuesday, February 1 at West Valley College. The Quakes open the regular season Saturday, April 2 at Spartan Stadium against the New England Revolution at 7:00 p.m. PT.

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