Interim coach Mark Watson of the San Jose Earthquakes is an interim coach no more.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, the MLS club has agreed to terms with the 42-year-old on a long-term contract after the former Canadian defender led the Quakes to a strong second half showing.
San Jose was just 3-6-6 when Watson took over in June after former coach Frank Yallop abruptly left the team and Watson guided the Quakes to a strong 11-5-3 finish, one of the best records in MLS over the second half of the season.
San Jose tied the Colorado Rapids for fifth in the Western Conference with 51 points, but Colorado got the playoff berth on the bases of a goals-scored tiebreaker.
“You look at what he’s done and there’s a huge case for him to stay,” goalkeeper Jon Busch said recently. “The record speaks for itself.”
As a player, Watson has the second-most international caps in Canadian national team history with 78 and retired in 2007 after an 18-year career as a player that included stops in England and MLS.
In addition to their regular season success under Watson, the Earthquakes also advanced to the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League after winning its group. San Jose will play Deportivo Toluca from Mexico’s Liga MX in a two-leg quarterfinal in Marc h.
Toluca came out of pool play as the top seed for the quarterfinals; the Quakes are the eighth seed. Other MLS squads among the eight quarterfinalists include the Los Angeles Galaxy and Sporting Kansas City.
Two other Liga MX sides, Cruz Azul and Club Tijuana, are also in the quarters, along with Club Deportivo Arabe Unido, which plays in Panama’s top league, and L.D. Alajuelense from Costa Rica’s Primera Division.