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Quakes to earn millions from shirt sponsor
by Ridge Mahoney, January 29th, 2009 7AM

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[MLS] There's been a bit of belt-tightening in regards to player salaries yet the San Jose ledger sheet has added a major entry on the plus side. Amway Global has signed on as the team's jersey sponsor and, wasting no time, its placards went on display Wednesday night, a day after the sponsorship deal was announced, at the Mexico-Sweden friendly played at the Oakland Coliseum.

The three-year deal is worth $2.5 million, according to a source. No financial terms were disclosed officially. In addition to placement on the team jerseys, Amway Global logos will adorn the team's training gear and travel attire. There will be signage at home games and a 30-foot tall inflatable Amway Global/Earthquakes jersey on display at Buck Shaw Stadium.

The direct-selling company is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. It markets a line of nutritional supplements under its NUTRILITE brand and its health and beauty products carry the ARTISTRY label.

"Putting Amway Global's logo on our jersey is another example of soccer's growth as a major player in the sports marketplace," said Earthquakes executive vice president David Alioto. "We are proud to enter into this partnership with Amway Global. Amway Global is a major international brand and has demonstrated a strong commitment to soccer both in the United States and around the world."

The Amway deal will help cut the team's losses, which exceeded $2 million last year. It is adjusting salary expenditures for its second season of operation and has scaled back its stadium project to a 15,000-capacity facility at a cost of between $40 million and $60 million.

San Jose declined the option on midfielder Ronnie O'Brien, who earned $250,000 last year and, contrary to some reports, wasn't offered a new deal by San Jose. It also offered a lower salary to keeper Joe Cannon, who would have earned about $225,000 in base salary this season if his option had been picked up. Cannon is negotiating a new three-year guaranteed contract.

It also allowed midfielder Francisco Lima to leave after he'd been acquired in mid-season as a free agent. Despite him signing an 18-month contract, he was allowed to keep his rights, and so he's left, again as a free agent, to sign with Italian Serie C1 (Third Division) club Taranto. San Jose used its first pick in the SuperDraft, the No. 17 overall pick, to obtain Indiana midfielder Brad Ring to help shore up the middle. The incumbents to play central mid are Ramiro Corrales and Ned Grabavoy.

Some of the money the team is saving on those players has been re-distributed. Defender Nick Garcia, who earned $137,812 in base salary last year, has signed a new deal guaranteed for at least two years at a salary of $190,000, according to another source with knowledge of the details. He also received an undisclosed signing bonus.
The signing of striker Peter Byers, who scored three goals in seven games for Montreal (USL-1) last season, will be announced once all the paperwork is completed.



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