Q&A: The best-kept secret at the Quakes, Cade Cowell

2020 - Cade Cowell - Practice

Since signing with the club on January 23, 2019, Cade Cowell has quickly emerged as one of the brightest young talents on the San Jose Earthquakes roster. At the age of 16, Cowell has assumed the role of a developing player that is not far from receiving first-team minutes. He consistently practices with the first team, plays in important matches with the club’s U-17 and U-19 Quakes Academy teams, and travels up north to play with the club’s USL Championship affiliate, Reno 1868 FC. 

Cowell has continued to make big jumps in his journey to first-team action, but this past Saturday may have been his biggest thus far. For the first time ever in his career, Cowell was named to the Quakes’ 18-man roster for an MLS regular season match. We caught up with Cade to talk about this special moment and how he has adjusted to the life of a professional soccer player. 

SJEarthquakes.com – You were in the 18 for the first time ever in a regular season match. What was going through your mind when you were rostered?

Cade Cowell – “I didn’t expect to be rostered at all. I wanted it to happen, but I wasn’t expecting it. The biggest thing that went through my mind was that I needed to stay ready. Whether or not Matias was going to bring me on the field, my mind was focused on making an impact for the team. 

It was cool though. I got tickets for two of my best friends before the game so when I saw them afterwards,they were pretty happy for me because I didn’t know that I would be in the 18. I told them I’d get them tickets, but I didn’t know if I’d be rostered or if I’d be sitting with them during the game. They had no clue either so when they saw me on the bench it was cool.”

SJEQ – What was the energy like on the bench during the game?

CC – The energy was really good. The whole bench, the coaching staff, we all had the starters’ backs. Everyone was yelling and standing up during the game, so it was a cool experience. The main difference from being on the bench and being [a reserve] is obviously having to be ready to go into the game at any point so you’re a lot more involved. You’re more aware of everything.”

SJEQ – That Oswaldo goal in stoppage time was crazy! What were your thoughts on the goal?

CC – “That was… I have no words for that. That was insane. I was so happy for him. I was so amazed because it was so cool being right there on the field. It was crazy. I watched the goal probably 100 times after the game. There are still posts about it today and I still watch it. I’m like, wow.”

SJEQ – In the past year, you’ve practiced with the first team, played in important games with the Academy and even made appearances in Reno. Talk a little bit about what the experience has been like to bounce around different teams within the organization.

CC – “The biggest thing for me is knowing that I’m a first team player and the responsibility that comes with that. When I’m with the Academy for example, I still have to be a good player because there’s no difference when I step on the field with those guys. There are some great players in our academy, so I won’t perform well if I go out there and think I’m better than everyone else. I just try to be a leader on and off the field and perform the best that I can.

Having to move around to different teams is different but it always keeps you on your toes. I would have never guessed last year that I would be rostered for the Home Opener this year. I love the way Matias does that because he never wants you to expect something or to be comfortable in one place. He’s always moving us around and keeping us ready.”

SJEQ – What has been the most challenging part about being a professional athlete?

CC – “I think the most challenging thing I’ve had to face is that playing soccer is my life now, it’s my job. It’s pretty cool though. All my friends and family are so supportive of me. They always know that I can’t do things with them because I’m playing soccer. Everybody respects that about me when I go back home, and I think that’s awesome that they’ve been so supportive.”