[MLS]Official word came Thursday that San Jose has signed former USL-1 player Cam Weaver to its attacking contingent. Weaver, 25, is a native of Washington state who won USL-1 Rookie of the Year honors and tied for the league lead in scoring three years ago.
He comes to MLS after two years in the Norwegian second division with FK Haugesund, for which he scored 11 league and cup goals during the 2008 season. Prior to his stint in Norway, he scored 18 goals in 27 games in 2006 for the USL-1 version of the Seattle Sounders, which has since been absorbed by the expansion MLS franchise.
In addition to scoring punch, Weaver adds some bulk as well as speed. At 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds, he beefs up an element of the Quakes' game that general managerJohn Doyle and Coach Frank Yallop believed were lacking last year.
Doyle wants size up front so his team can be more dangerous in the air, especially on set plays. "Physically, I thought we were a little bit over-manned," said the former MLS and U.S. defender who stands 6-foot-3. "When they came up for set plays, we did well defensively, but offensively, who on our team was going to score?
"Ryan Johnson and Ryan Cochrane, OK, and after that, it was, 'Uh, well ... last year, height-wise, we were a little bit challenged. He's strong, can hold up the ball, and is a finisher."
As for Yallop, well, he's just happy to have a complement of forwards at the start of the season, which wasn't the case when the team commenced play last year. He and Doyle are hoping that Weaver can: a) produce, and b) stay healthy. Both areas were problem spots for much of last year, and one midseason acquisition, ex-Wizard attacker Scott Sealy, left during the winter to sign with Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Sealy scored three goals in 14 games after arriving from Kansas City, and was one of only five players to score at least three goals for the league's lowest-scoring team (32 goals). He assisted on the tying goal in his debut Wednesday night as Tel Aviv tied Maccabi Haifa, 1-1.
"We're starting the season with some forwards, which is nice for a change," says Yallop. Three of the top five goalscorers in 2008 arrived in midseason, including top scorer Darren Huckerby, who led the team with six goals in 14 games from his left-wing position. "We're getting some strikers who will be dangerous in the box and that's what we've been missing."
Says Doyle, "Last year, we brought in Pegeuro [Jean-Phillipe] and right away he gets hurt. Jovan Kirovski comes in, first day in practice, he breaks his foot. Gavin Glinton was going to play, and he got hurt. We couldn't keep people healthy."
Both Pegeuro and Kirovski have moved on, and so has midfielder Ronnie O'Brien, who scored four goals and led the team with six assists but left during the offseason after contract negotiations reached an impasse.
"Hopefully, we can stay healthy this year and give the coach those problems of having a lot of good players to choose from," said Doyle.