The San Jose Earthquakes announced today that they have signed defender Jason Hernandez and midfielder Sam Cronin to new contracts. Per league and team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Cronin and Hernandez were regular starters during the club’s historic Supporters’ Shield run in 2012, helping set a new franchise mark for points in a season with 66. San Jose reached the Western Conference Semifinals with a 19-6-9 record, tops in MLS.
Hernandez is one of two players on the Earthquakes’ current roster who were with the club during their 2008 expansion season. The stalwart defender ranks among the club’s top 10 all-time in games played (123), minutes played (10,847) and games started (122). He was a key piece on an Earthquakes back line that produced seven clean sheets in 2012.
“Jason had another excellent season and was an important piece to our Supporters’ Shield season,” said Earthquakes general manager John Doyle. “He’s has been here from the start. He’s a great leader on and off the field and we hope to keep him here for the rest of his career.”
Among the highlight moments for Hernandez last season was a game-winning assist in the club’s memorable 3-2 comeback win against the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center on May 23. He also picked up MLS Save of the Week honors after denying Real Salt Lake forward Alvaro Saborio with a header off the line in a 2-1 San Jose win at Rio Tinto Stadium on June 23.
“Jason has been an important part of this team,” said Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop. “You can always count on his work rate and his veteran presence both in the locker room and as a part of our back line. We’re happy to have him back in San Jose for seasons to come.”
Cronin wrapped up his third season in San Jose after joining the club via trade from Toronto FC during the 2010 season. He posted a career-high six assists and scored one goal while starting 30 games and appearing in 31 for the Earthquakes in 2012.
“Sam was another integral piece to our Supporters’ Shield run,” Doyle said. “He had a great season for us and we wanted to make sure his future was in San Jose.”
The center midfielder’s goal was a big one, recording the game-tying tally against the LA Galaxy in a 4-3 comeback win at Stanford Stadium on June 30. He also had game-winning assists against Toronto FC on March 24 and FC Dallas on July 18. Cronin has compiled eight assists and one goal in 75 games played since joining the club.
“Sam has been a very consistent player for us over the last three years,” Yallop said. “He’s a player that perhaps doesn’t get as much credit for what he does, but he’s been a key player in the middle for us. We’re looking forward to having both Jason and Sam back in San Jose for years to come.”
Transaction: San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) – San Jose Earthquakes sign D Jason Hernandez and M Sam Cronin to new contracts.