SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes announced today that the club has named Steve Ralston, Ian Russell and Tim Hanley as assistant coaches, rounding out head coach Dominic Kinnear’s staff ahead of the 2015 season. Per league and team policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.
Ralston, 40, has over four years of experience as an MLS assistant coach after joining Kinnear on the sidelines with the Dynamo in July of 2010 following his retirement from professional soccer. The Dynamo reached the MLS Cup Playoffs three times during Ralston’s tenure, including back-to-back trips to the MLS Cup Final in 2011 and 2012 and an appearance in the Eastern Conference Final in 2013.
“I’m happy to have Steve join the staff,” said Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear. “We have a great relationship on and off the field. He was a great player and is a very good coach. I’m very comfortable having him with me in the locker room, on the field and on the bench.”
A native of St. Louis, Ralston retired as the all-time MLS leader in assists (135), games played (378), starts (372), and minutes played (33,143). As a midfielder, he played in four MLS Cup finals for New England and was named an MLS All-Star seven times. He received MLS Best XI recognition three times during his 15-year career and is the only three-time recipient of the MLS Fair Play Award in league history.
“Dominic and I have been together for a long time and loyalty means a lot to me,” Ralston said. “I’m really excited about joining the Earthquakes organization, continuing my coaching career with Dominic, and working with the players. I’ve heard a lot of great things about San Jose with the new stadium coming and look forward to getting out there.”
On the international level, Ralston appeared 36 times for the United States national team and scored four goals, including the game-winning goal against Mexico on September 3, 2005, as the United States clinched qualification for the World Cup. He was an alternate for the World Cup squad but has represented the United States at the Gold Cup three times, including championship squads in 2005 and 2007.
Russell, 39, re-signed with the club to return for his eighth season as an assistant coach. He helped San Jose reach the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2010 and 2012, including an appearance in the Eastern Conference Final in 2010. The Earthquakes also took home the 2012 Supporters’ Shield, ending with one of the top campaigns in league history with 66 points and a 19-6-9 record.
“I’ve always had a good relationship with Ian going back to when he was a player and then getting to know him as a coach over the last seven years,” Kinnear said. “I know he’s hard working and he has a lot of experience. One thing I love about Ian is that he’s passionate about this organization.”
A native of Seattle, Wash., Russell spent six seasons playing for the San Jose Earthquakes from 2000-05, and seven total years in MLS. After being selected in the fifth round of the 2000 MLS SuperDraft, Russell appeared in 131 games for the Quakes. A lightning-quick midfielder, he scored five goals and notched 20 assists, aiding the Quakes to their two MLS Cups in 2001 and 2003. Russell’s best season came in 2001 when he started all 26 league matches, producing three goals and nine assists.
Prior to his MLS career, Russell starred at the University of Washington as a three-time (1995-97) All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation First Team honoree. He moved on to play two seasons for the Seattle Sounders, then of the A-League. Russell holds a U.S. Soccer Federation “A” coaching license.
Hanley, 54, will return to San Jose as the goalkeeper coach. The 16-year coaching veteran and Bay Area native spent three seasons with the Clash from 1997-99 and then five seasons with the Earthquakes from 2001-05. He helped the club to MLS Cup titles in 2001 and 2003 and was part of San Jose’s first Supporters’ Shield run in 2005. He then spent eight years with the Houston Dynamo, including their first two seasons in 2006-07 and then six more from 2009-14.
“Tim for me is one of the best goalkeeping coaches in America,” Kinnear said. “I think he has a great manner with the goalkeepers and I think a lot of goalkeepers – Joe Cannon, Jon Conway, Pat Onstad, Tyler Deric, and the list goes on – have become solid starters in this league for many years thanks to his help.”
Hanley coached three Goalkeeper of the Year winners in a four-year span from 2002-05 (Joe Cannon 2002; Pat Onstad 2003, 2005). He also coached in the A-League, the Premier Development League, and at Stanford University (2002-05).
As a player, Hanley played six seasons in the United States and the United Kingdom. He began his career training with Blackpool and Coventry City in England, then returned to the United States to play in the North American Soccer League. He played with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, San Jose Earthquakes, and Golden Bay Earthquakes, sandwiched around a stint at Scottish club Hibernian.