SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes today unveiled information regarding the club’s new second team. The team will be referred to as Earthquakes II, or Quakes II, and will begin play in MLS NEXT Pro in 2022 under head coach Alex Covelo.
“Earthquakes II will allow us to offer young players important competitive minutes at a critical stage in their development,” said Earthquakes General Manager Chris Leitch. “MLS NEXT Pro fills a need between the Quakes Academy and first team, and we’re excited about our plan to take advantage of the complete player pathway.”
Established last June by Major League Soccer, the new professional league will complete an integrated player pathway from MLS NEXT through to MLS first teams. The new league will offer young players and experienced professionals the opportunity to develop and showcase their talents while competing for an MLS NEXT Pro championship. More information about the new league can be found here.
Earthquakes II will wear the same kits as the first team and feature a similar logo that is only differentiated by a small second team mark on the lower left side. The roster will be comprised of young first team players, amateur Quakes Academy players, and players signed directly to second team contracts. More information about the roster will be announced soon.
Quakes II will play 24 regular season matches in 2022, split evenly between home and away, with home matches taking place at PayPal Park in San Jose.
Alex Covelo – Head Coach
Alex Covelo originally joined the Earthquakes as the club’s Director of Methodology in April 2017. He has also served as an assistant coach for the Quakes on two separate occasions, filling in under interim head coach Chris Leitch at the end of the 2017 season and interim head coach Steve Ralston at the end of the 2018 season.
As Director of Methodology, he is responsible for establishing a one-club game development program with which players and coaches from the pre-formation ages (U12+) to the first team can identify. He also works directly with high-potential players within the Quakes Academy and has been influential in the academy’s rise in recent years. Since Covelo’s arrival, the Quakes Academy has sent players to youth national teams for the United States, Mexico, Peru, El Salvador, and Iceland.
The Barcelona, Spain native holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education and sport (URL – Barcelona), a master’s degree in high performance team sports (INEFC – Barcelona) and a UEFA A coaching license, which is the second highest of the five UEFA qualifications. He speaks four languages: English, Spanish, Catalán, and Italian. He was previously a coaching instructor at Ekkono Soccer Services Group based out of Barcelona that leads the technical programs of French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain, and the Football Federations of Japan, Finland and Poland.
Covelo previously served as the head coach of San Marino in the Italian third division from 2014-15, after a stint as an assistant coach and match analyst with the club in 2013-14. Prior to joining San Marino’s lone professional club, Covelo had a variety of roles in his native Spain. From 2008-12, he worked at one of La Liga’s most prestigious youth academy programs, RCD Espanyol of Barcelona, in capacities such as head of methodology and director of fitness for the U-19s. He also served as the head coach of the U-15 and U-19 squads at CF Badalona in Spain’s third division from 2005-08.
During his extensive coaching career, Covelo worked with and helped develop several stars in Europe, including Spanish winger Cristian Tello, Spanish center back Jordi Amat, and Guinean midfielder Amadou Diawara.
Luciano Fusco – Assistant Coach
Luciano Fusco has served as head coach of the Quakes U15 and U17 Academy squads since 2018. He later became Assistant Director of Methodology and assistant coach for Earthquakes II in 2021. He earned four coaching invites with the U.S. U16 National Team between 2016-18.
Prior to his roles with the Quakes, Fusco was the head coach for LAFC’s U12s and an assistant coach for UCLA men’s soccer team from 2016-2018, where he worked with future Quakes and U.S. National Team midfielder Jackson Yueill. He holds a U.S. Soccer A National License, an NSCAA premier diploma, and certification in Team Sports Training from Barcelona University Innovation Hub. Fusco carries a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and a minor in Human Development from San Francisco State University.
About Earthquakes II
Earthquakes II is the San Jose Earthquakes’ second team competing in the MLS NEXT Pro league set to debut in 2022. Founded in 2021, Quakes II will play their home matches at PayPal Park and will feature players from the First Team, including Homegrowns and SuperDraft selections. Earthquakes II is a franchise owned and operated by the San Jose Earthquakes. To learn more, visit sjearthquakes.com. To follow the action, follow Earthquakes II on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.