SAN JOSE, Calif. — With five days until their 2011 season begins, the San Jose Earthquakes are about to slot in what they hope will be the final piece of their roster puzzle.
Still looking to add more firepower after an offseason purge from their attacking ranks, San Jose have reached an agreement in principle to bring over Tottenham Hotspur reserve Simon Dawkins on loan.
Dawkins, a 23-year-old who can play as a second forward or in the midfield, still needs some necessary paperwork, but he could potentially be available Saturday when the Quakes host Real Salt Lake.
“It’s hard to turn down a good young player that’s available,” Quakes coach Frank Yallop told MLSsoccer.com.
Dawkins originally joined Spurs’ academy as a youth player in 2004, but he was eventually dropped by the club after a series of injuries derailed his progress. He had been training with the team for months on an out-of-contract basis before signing a new deal on Monday that runs through June 2013.
“He’s very good on the ball, and good at keeping the ball, good at passing, good range,” Quakes general manager John Doyle said. “He had a lot of qualities. I don’t think a team like Tottenham keep a kid around that long if he doesn’t have those qualities. Sometimes it just doesn’t quite work, and their goal for him is to come over here, get a lot of playing time and really take off. And that’s the same for us.”
[inline_node:330756]The Quakes, who have a club partnership with Spurs, had an eye on Dawkins for months. He trained and played with San Jose during the Quakes’ 10-day preseason trip to England in February and impressed with his play in central midfield, although he has versatility.
“We were over there and got to take a look at him in a game with our guys, and he looked good,” Doyle said. “I don’t think we would have pursued it if we didn’t think he could add something to the team.”
The Quakes already have Khari Stephenson and Chris Wondolowski playing centrally, with still-rehabbing Scott Sealy waiting in the wings. But Dawkins certainly impressed San Jose with his ability to control play from that spot, and ball possession is something the Quakes are putting greater emphasis on this season with their new 4-3-3 formation.
Alternatively, Dawkins could play elsewhere although Joey Gjertsen — probably the least-heralded player in San Jose’s front six — has had a superlative camp on the right wing.
“Simon is technically very, very good and can play in a number of positions,” said Tim Sherwood, Tottenham’s technical coordinator. “He scores goals. ... I think he will do well over there. It is the perfect fit for him.”
Dawkins’ loan deal runs through the end of the MLS season, and a strong year for him would be a win-win-win situation for everyone involved.
“It’ll be good for all parties if he has a good season with us,” Yallop said. “We may try to keep him, [or] at least he goes back to Tottenham with a good season in a tough league to play in under his belt.”
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . On Twitter: @sjquakes