San Jose Earthquakes general manager John Doyle still remembers watching David Bingham nearly a decade ago as a youth-soccer center forward.
Now, Doyle gets to employ Bingham as one of the MLS’ brightest goalkeeping prospects.
The Quakes won the rights to the Cal junior – a late addition to this year’s Generation adidas class after first going on a week-long tryout with Fulham of the English Premier League – in a weighted lottery held Wednesday afternoon.
“It was somebody I’ve known for a long time and I wanted,” Doyle told MLSsoccer.com. “But when I saw where we were in the lottery, I said, ‘No chance.’”
The Quakes were ranked fifth out of 13 teams interested in Bingham’s services, with what the league said was an 8.8 percent chance of claiming the 2010 second-team All-American. Nevertheless, the San Francisco Bay Area product wound up with the team he grew up cheering for – and within driving distance of his Berkeley college campus, making it that much easier for him to complete the coursework needed to earn his social welfare degree.
[inline_node:323226]The result is a huge win for the Quakes, who had been actively searching for a young goalkeeping prospect to groom behind 34-year-old starter Jon Busch. Bingham, 21, was considered by many observers to be on a par with Maryland’s Zac MacMath; MacMath, the only Generation adidas ‘keeper in the SuperDraft, went fifth to Philadelphia. (Because Bingham didn’t sign his GA contract until after the draft was completed, he was placed in the special lottery.)
The 6-foot-2 Bingham posted a goals-against average of 0.77 last season for Cal, with eight shutouts, and helped the Golden Bears make it to the NCAA quarterfinals before being knocked out by eventual champion Akron.
“He’s great with his feet, he can smash the ball, he’s a good shot-stopper,” Doyle said. “He’s very talented and has all the attributes of a good MLS ‘keeper.”
With Busch and Bingham assured spots on the roster, there’s a logjam for the Quakes’ last goalkeeping slot. MLS veterans Brian Edwards and Andrew Weber were slated to battle in camp for the backup spot behind Busch, with Supplemental Draft selection Philip Tuttle of Notre Dame expected to serve as the No. 3.
“We had four goalkeepers for three spots,” Doyle said. “Now we have five. Obviously, some things have changed.”
Presumably, Edwards and Weber will continue to fight for the No. 2 spot, with Tuttle facing daunting odds. If San Jose wanted to maximize their salary-cap space, however, they could risk the untested Bingham as their No. 2, with Tuttle in reserve.
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com. On Twitter: @sjquakes