Just as the sun shone through the cloudy Bay Area skies Thursday afternoon, the Earthquakes departed for frosty England to play exhibitions against a pair of Premiership sides and one MLS team during a 10-day stay across the pond.
The Quakes expect to play as many as three matches during their trip. The fixtures include West Ham and Tottenham reserves as well as the Colorado Rapids. The dates for these matches have not yet been decided.
Twenty-five players made the trip for San Jose. Trialist Omar Jassey, a Gambian native with ties to several Premiership academies, will not be in England due to complications with his visa. In the meantime, the 17-year-old outside mid will train with an Under-18 club team in Danville, Calif.
Javier Guarino, a Uruguayan trialist, was not extended a contract offer and did not make the trip with the Earthquakes.
After tune-ups against a pair of PDL sides and Cal, an NCAA affiliate, the Earthquakes are anxious to dig their boots into tougher competition. Weather permitting - the forecast projects sub-freezing temperatures and the possibility of snow on Friday - San Jose will have ample opportunity to test itself against quality opponents during the 10-day excursion.
As part of the team's partnership, the Quakes will train at Tottenham's facilities and will have the opportunity to take in a Premiership match between the Spurs and Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, March 13.
The Quakes will return to the U.S. on March 14 and have a pair of exhibitions lined up in the Bay Area before opening the season. San Jose hosts the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday, March 17 at San Francisco's Kezar Stadium (7 p.m.) as well as the Portland Timbers on March 20 at Buck Shaw Stadium (7 p.m.). Tickets for both matches are on sale at sjearthquakes.com or by calling (408) 556-7700.
San Jose opens its regular season on March 27 against defending MLS Cup Champion Real Salt Lake at Buck Shaw Stadium (6 p.m.).
In England with the Quakes:
GK: Joe Cannon, Andrew Weber, Mike Gracyk
D: Steve Beitashour, Bobby Burling, Jason Hernandez, Chris Leitch, Brandon McDonald, Ike Opara, Justin Morrow
MF: Arturo Alvarez, Bobby Convey, Ramiro Corrales, Simon Elliott, Joey Gjertsen, Andre Luiz, Antonio Robeiro, Brad Ring, Javier Robles, Ramon Sanchez
F: Quincy Amarikwa, Eduardo, Cornell Glen, Ryan Johnson, Chris Wondolowski