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Quakes retain defensive leader Garcia
by Ridge Mahoney, January 22nd, 2009 7AM
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As most observers anticipated, the San Jose Earthquakes failed to make the 2008 playoffs as an expansion team, yet their defense performed up to expectations. The team has retained the services of a key member of its back line.

Veteran defender Nick Garcia has signed a new contract after San Jose posted the fourth-lowest goals-allowed total, 38, while finishing with a 8-13-9 record and 33 points. Contract terms have not been released. He earned a base salary of $137,812 last year.

"We had one of the top defenses in the league in 2008 and Nick was a big part of that success," said general manager John Doyle. "We are looking forward to having him back in an Earthquakes uniform in 2009."

Garcia, who will mark a decade of MLS play this season, started 24 games last year and helped the Quakes post nine shutouts. He registered two assists without managing to score a goal and has netted just once, in 2006. As a solid, tough defender, he has few peers in MLS history.

San Jose coach Frank Yallop traded the No. 1 pick in the 2008 SuperDraft to acquire Garcia from Kansas City, which he helped win the 2000 MLS Cup as a rookie and reach the final again four years later.

Garcia has played 248 regular-season games (all starts) and 23 playoff matches after winning a pair of NCAA Division I championships with Indiana in 1998 and 1999. He turns 30 in April and his average of 27 regular-season games per season is among the highest marks for MLS field players.

"My family and I are happy to come back to San Jose and I am looking forward to an even better season for the team this year," said Garcia in a team statement. "We had some good moments in the second half of last year, but no one here is content with where we finished in the standings. We need to start strong and play consistently both at home and on the road and if we do, we will have a chance to contend this season."

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