San Jose Earthquakes GM John Doyle Looks Back On 2014 And Previews Next Season

On Friday morning, San Jose Earthquakes general manager John Doyle held his end-of-year conference call with reporters to explain what went wrong in 2014, and how he and new head coach Dominic Kinnear plan to turn the club around.

The team executive provided an update on whether record-setting goalkeeper Jon Busch will be returning to San Jose, why the team could be leaning against bringing back Yannick Djalo, and how the new stadium will allow the Quakes to “catch up” to the big-spenders in MLS.

Here’s a partial transcript of the call:

On the underwhelming 2014 season:

“Obviously, the 2014 season was a huge disappointment. Everybody knows that, but very difficult and you go an you look at it, whether it be injuries, signings, coaching. All those different things that for whatever reason it didn’t go well.”

 

 

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On how the coaching change came about:

“I was excited when our owner came to us three-quarters of the season gone and said, ‘Listen, I would like to make a coaching change and I want you to start looking.’ ”

On when roster decisions will be made:

“Option letters go out in three weeks, and one thing that Dominic [Kinnear] made really clear to every player was, ‘Hey, I’m taking all the time necessary to make my decisions.”

On how much turnover there will be:

“I think anytime you don’t have a successful season, there’s going to be some changes, but I also don’t think it’s a thing where, I heard this from a coach that I have a lot of respect for, ‘Good players don’t all the sudden become bad.’ I think we have a lot of good players. I think we, maybe in 2012 we had career years for a lot of guys. In 2014, we had career bad years for a lot of guys and there are a lot of reasons why.”

“So as far as turnover goes, really, we don’t know.Obviously there will be turnover. There’s turnover every year.”

“But I wouldn’t say it’s going to be the whole team turned over, that’s for sure. But, you know, a new coach comes in, and a coach with a lot of experience and a lot of success, is going to make changes.”

On whether Djalo will return:

“You have a difficult situation on him. When players on loan do really well, you have no chance of getting them back. That’s obvious.”

“So, had Djalo scored 15 goals and been healthy all season and we had a wonderful season, there would be no option to get him back most likely.”

“But we’ll look and see what, if there’s an option. It’s a difficult situation, it’s a difficult decision just because of the amount of time he was injured. Everyone who watched him play knows he’s one of the most talented players in Major League Soccer. It’s just when he’s on the field or not. And to put a ton of resources into somebody who plays a third of games…we can’t do that.”

On the future for Martin Perez Garcia:

“Perez Garcia 100 percent will be back.”

What positions will the club look to strengthen in the offseason:

“As far as positions go, that’s something Dominc and I will keep between ourselves.”

On the impact that the new stadium will have on ownership’s spending:

“There’s already been an increase in spending from ownership, which has been great. I think the owners see this as an opportunity to start to spend a little bit more. I wouldn’t say we’re going to be one of the highest-spending teams in Major League Soccer that’s for sure, but I think we’re going to start to catch up a little bit with the league.”

On the club’s level of interest in bringing back Jon Busch who is out of contract:

“He’s in a category of a lot of players where we’re evaluating it and we have to make decisions in three to four weeks. But I think Dominic wants to look and evaluate, so there’s been no decision on bringing Jon back or keeping Jon. That’s where we’re at.”

On whether the 2014 team was capable of competing for a playoff spot in the Western Conference:

“Yea, I do. I think there was a lot of talent on the team. I think it just was for whatever reason, we didn’t, we weren’t able to, and again, I think it’s excuses. It’s not excuses when you have players injured, and players—just it was one of those years and things didn’t go well, but I think we have some talented players that’s for sure.”

On how different the coaching style will be  under Kinnear as opposed to Mark Watson:

“I thought tactically we sat back this year. And I don’t expect we’re going to be sitting back—especially at home. We soaked up a lot of pressure at times.”

“We just didn’t put teams under pressure, we soaked up pressure.”

On how the news stadium will allow the team to “catch up” to the “big-spending team[s]:”

“I think the stadium is a big thing. I think that’s going to help to drive us to be more successful. I think it gives us a way to earn money so that the team can spend more money. I think when you’re playing in a small stadium like Buck Shaw, and the revenues aren’t coming in, it’s more difficult to spend as much. But now I think with the stadium, I think, again like I said, I don’t think, hey, I would love us to be a big-spending team. I don’t think we’re ever going to be one of the top, but you never know. Our owner has the ability to do that, but I think we’re just going to just start to catch up, and we’re going to have to.”