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Is Convey good fit for Quakes?
by Ridge Mahoney, February 11th, 2009 7AM



[MLS] At least one MLS coach believes allocations should be used to bring U.S. players back to Major League Soccer, and a rival team has done just that. San Jose has used its slot atop the allocation rankings to sign midfielder Bobby Convey, whose contract with English club Reading was terminated last week. Terms of the deal and his salary details have not been announced. He is scheduled to report to the team in the next two weeks, after the Quakes play two preseason games in California.

"It is rare to be able to acquire a U.S. international in the prime of his career," said San Jose general manager John Doyle. "When he became available we jumped at the opportunity to add him to our team. He is a great attacking player who will make an immediate impact, and our fans will enjoy watching him."

He will not be a Designated Player. Doyle says by adding Convey the Quakes have used up nearly all of its salary cap. Last year, the highest-paid player was winger Darren Huckerby ($335,000 base salary) and Convey's contract is believed to be worth nearly as much. Doyle said to join MLS from Reading Convey signed a four-year contract.

Convey, 25, returns to MLS after moving to Reading in August, 2004, in a $2 million transfer deal following 4 ½ seasons with D.C. United, for which he scored eight goals and registered 16 assists in 89 regular-season games. He was only 16 years old, the youngest player in league history at the time, when D.C. took him as the No. 12 overall selection in the 2000 SuperDraft.

He played for the U.S. U-17 team at the FIFA world championships in 1999 and represented the U.S. twice at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, in 2001 and 2003. Convey captained the U.S. team at the 2003 event in which it finished fifth, and that same year also played 15 matches for the senior team, including the Gold Cup and Confederations Cup.

He earned the most recent of his 46 U.S. caps a year ago in a 2-2 tie with Mexico in Houston.

In his second (2005-06) season with Reading, the Royals rolled to the League Championship (second division) title while winning 31 of 46 games, scoring 99 goals and conceding only 32. Convey played a key role in Reading's powerful attack and scored seven goals in 45 matches (all starts). He played all three U.S. games at the 2006 World Cup but during the tournament aggravated a knee injury that required surgery and a follow-up procedure in March, 2007, and during that season played only nine league matches.

Last season he appeared in 20 matches (12 starts) without scoring a goal. He played six league games this season before he and the club agreed to part ways.

Convey doesn't come back to MLS without some question marks. His knee problems, though he's declared himself fully hit, have occasionally resurfaced the past few months. He plays primarily on the left side, where the Quakes are already strong with Huckerby. He's a native of Philadelphia, which will come into play as a possible destination next year as the 16th MLS team.

Coach Frank Yallop says he plans to play Convey in the middle; he had the same idea in Los Angeles for David Beckham, and that didn't work out so well. The Quakes also wasted an allocation last year on former Rapid Peguero Jean-Philipppe, who arrived with a history of knee problems and quickly re-injured himself so severely he managed to play only 122 minutes.

The Quakes were scheduled to travel to Southern California Wednesday to play preseason matches against Seattle Friday and Houston Sunday on the campus of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

"I'm anxious to see what we've got," said Yallop last week at a training session. "I'm excited with what I've seen, but we've got to turn it into wins. We can't just be good out here, we have to be good on Saturday nights."

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