The San Jose Earthquakes used all three allowed substitutions on Sunday during their 1-0 win over the Colorado Rapids, which isn’t unusual, until you look at the players that came on the field to help secure the three points.
Defender Kip Colvey and midfielders Tommy Thompson and Matheus Silva each made their way onto the Avaya Stadium pitch as second-half substitutes. Colvey, 21, Thompson, 20, and Silva, 19, make up three of the four youngest players on the Quakes roster, along with 21-year-old midfielder Marc Pelosi, who is recovering from an offseason knee procedure.
Thompson is now in his third season with San Jose, but Colvey and Silva each made their Major League Soccer debut on Sunday. Both players credit head coach Dominic Kinnear having confidence in them as a major key to their success thus far.
“That’s pretty big for a young player to know people around you at the club have confidence in you,” said Colvey.
“It helps a lot,” added Silva. “Confidence is key for any player in my opinion. A coach has to have confidence in you to play on opening day to make sure the season gets off to a good start.”
Colvey and Silva have developed a friendship during their brief time together and are both looking forward to their opportunities this season, although their expectations heading into last Sunday’s match were a bit different.
“I had a feeling before the game. I was talking to Kip and I told him I knew I was going to play,” explained Silva. “Nobody told me, but I had a feeling I would get some touches and help the team get the win.”
“I had no idea,” Colvey said. “I just knew I was in the 18 and if anyone got injured, which actually happened, then I would be on. I was just happy I could contribute to the game.”
The 19-year-old from Brazil has earned his stripes, working his way up from a trialist last season to a bonafide member of the Quakes roster and part of the core of its bright future.
“I was confident. I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous, but I was confident because I’ve been preparing for this since last year. I have improved a lot mentally and I no longer let the older guys get in my head.”
Colvey took a different route to the Quakes lineup, joining the team as a third-round pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. Defeating the odds, he earned a spot on the roster at a position of need and didn’t have to wait long to gain valuable experience.
“When I first got here, there was a lot of uncertainty. It’s always a bit difficult finding your way with a new team, but we’ve had a long preseason and I think I’ve integrated myself well.
“As a defender, I look towards Clay [Clarence Goodson] and Victor [Bernardez]. Those two guys have really shown me what it means to be a professional.”
Quakes fans have reason to be excited about the future of their club and the debut of these two young players are a big reason why.