David Bingham didn't have to travel far to arrive at his first training session with the San Jose Earthquakes last week.
The Quakes landed the former Cal goalkeeper on Wednesday, January 26 in a weighted lottery. Less than 24 hours later, Bingham left his Berkeley apartment for a rush-hour commute down the Interstate 880.
A Pleasanton, Calif. native and true-blue San Jose Earthquakes fan, Bingham couldn't have been happier when his fandom and professional career aligned last week.
The Generation adidas keeper grew up attending Quakes matches at Spartan Stadium back when greats like Ronald Cerritos and John Doyle donned San Jose's colors. Now 21 years young, Bingham has the opportunity to learn from one of the league's best keepers in Jon Busch while playing alongside teammates he grew up watching on TV.
SJEarthquakes.com: So, one day you're sitting on the couch in the East Bay waiting for a lottery result. The next you're commuting to your first day of MLS training with a team you grew up rooting for. Life is good, right?
David Bingham: I can’t describe in words how excited I was to get a phone call from my agent telling me I was going to the Quakes. It was a great day because anything could have happened in the lottery, but I was lucky enough to be picked by the Quakes.
SJEQ: Secretly, deep down, did you hope the Quakes would win the lottery?
DB: It’s definitely a great situation being able to play for the Quakes. From everything I hear, Busch is a great mentor and that’s a great thing for me. Being a young keeper and getting the opportunity to pick his mind and just learn from him is a great asset for me to take advantage of.
SJEQ: How about your favorite Quakes moment - do you remember the legendary four-goal comeback against the LA Galaxy in the 2003 MLS Cup Playoffs?
DB: How could anyone forget that game? Going into the second game knowing you need to win by multiple of goals is challenging itself, let alone coming back from a 4-0 deficit and eventually beating Chicago to win the title. It was a great story.
SJEQ: How did your first day of training go?
DB: The first day went well. It was a lot of running, but it felt good to get my legs back under me and I’m excited for the next seven weeks of preseason. I can already tell I’ll definitely be spending in the ice bath a lot this preseason (laughs).
SJEQ: Honestly: What was your first impression of Jon Busch?
DB: The first thing I noticed was how professional he was. He always says good morning in the locker room and his general positive attitude makes training a lot of fun. The second thing I noticed was his work ethic in goalkeeper training. He works extremely hard and that’s a trait that anyone can implement in their own game.
SJEQ: Be sure to ask him about taking a trip to Buschland when you get a chance. And Bloggin with Buschy. You can learn a lot. What do you think are your biggest strengths as a keeper and what needs to improve?
DB: My athleticism is probably my greatest asset. As far as improving, just learning the speed of the game is going to take a couple weeks to get used to.
SJEQ: Sorry to bring up bad memories, but Akron knocked Cal out of the NCAA Tourney in December - were you eyeballing Ampai(pitakwong) at practice?
DB: That was a very tough loss. I thought the way we played was great and I didn’t think we were going to lose, but unfortunately the soccer gods disagreed with me. Ampai and I talked a lot about that game and how exciting and fun it was, but that game definitely left a bitter sweet taste with me.
SJEQ: Did you know Anthony or any of the guys on the team before meeting them at practice?
DB: I trained with the Quakes when I was a freshman so I knew Andrew Weber from those couple of days. I also know Victor Cortez from our club soccer days.
SJEQ: It's Saturday and you're not playing soccer: what do you do?
DB: If the sun is out, I’m either going to the beach or going golfing.
SJEQ: Got any favorite spots to have fun in the South Bay? (Santa Cruz, Great America, hiking spots, etc.)
DB: Santa Cruz is great and some other beaches down there like Sunny Cove are always fun to go to with your friends. The city is also close so it’s always fun to get out there and walk around.
SJEQ: Did you finish your degree at Cal? (If not, do you plan to?)
DB: I haven’t finished school yet, but I plan to work on it piece by piece. I plan to finish some online courses to get closer and then wrap up with a few classes at Cal.
SJEQ: Cheers and best of luck!