Busch Signing Adds Depth at Goalkeeper

Tuesday was Busch's first training session with the Quakes

Jon Busch 2

Photo Credit: 
Getty

There’s an apartment in Chicago to pack up, a new home in the Bay
Area to find and a raft of boxes still waiting in storage in Columbus,
Ohio.

But Jon Busch had something even more pressing at the top
of his to-do list on Tuesday.

“I need sunglasses,” Busch said,
squinting from the noontime rays after finishing his first training
session as a member of the San Jose Earthquakes. "I don’t even own
sunglasses, because I’ve never needed them before."

It’s just the
latest in a series of rapid adjustments Busch has had to undergo in
the last week. The 2008 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year was unceremoniously
waived on March 22 by the Chicago Fire, for whom Busch had started all
60 regular-season matches over the last two years.

“It’s been an
emotional week for both me and my wife,” Busch said. “So just to get
out here [to California] last night and to get out here today and get
back to what I love doing is great. I’m excited to have a new challenge
in front of me.”

While Busch’s wife Nikki was busy emptying out
their Chicago place, the 33-year-old veteran was on the field for the
Earthquakes’ entire practice, and then stayed for an extra 15 minutes
while Chris Wondolowski fired dozens of shots at him.

“That’s
how I am every day,” Busch said of the work ethic. “If I don’t get to
go on the field, I kind of go a little crazy and my wife doesn’t like
me too much.”

Busch said the contract is for one year, with
options included to extend beyond the 2010 season.

The
Earthquakes felt that since Busch will have a minimal impact on the
team’s salary-cap situation, he was too good of a value to pass up. But
coach Frank Yallop made it clear that his depth chart still has
incumbent Joe Cannon at the top.

“Joe’s No. 1, yeah," Yallop
said. "Joe’s playing. Joe’s not done badly. Right now, Jon’s there to
back up Joe.”

The fate of Andrew Weber, suddenly dropped to
third-string, will determined “further down the line,” Yallop said,
when the team decides if it wants to go with two or three keepers in the
long term.

Busch showed no unhappiness with the arrangement.
He arrived in Chicago from Columbus in 2007 as a backup to then-starter
Matt Pickens and sat on the bench until Pickens tried his hand in
England before the 2008 season.

“In 14 years as a pro, I’ve never
said, ‘I have to be the No. 1,’ at any time,” Busch said. “All I’ve
said was: ‘Look, I’ll come in, I’ll work my socks off like I’ve always
done.’ And if Frank and his coaching staff feel like I deserve a game, I
deserve a game. But if not, Joe’s a very seasoned professional, a
friend of mine. We go back years from the national team camps. He’s
been there and done it all.”

The Earthquakes have a bye this
weekend, but return to action on April 10 in -- of all places – Chicago.

“It’s crazy the way it works out,” Busch said. “I guess that’s
karma.”

Whether Cannon is so sanguine about the situation
remains open to debate. The Bay Area native declined through a team
spokesman to talk to the media Tuesday, leaving Busch with the last
word.

“If Frank picks my number, great,” Busch said. “If I stay
here and I push Joe and help the team in any way possible, that’s part
of it, too. I’m completely happy with that. It’s California. The sun’s
out. It’s not Chicago weather.”

Sunglasses are definitely in
order.

Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for
MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at sanjosequakes@gmail.com .
Follow him on Twitter at @sjquakes.