Dawkins' San Jose Future Still Uncertain

Midfielder Simon Dawkins’ future with the Earthquakes is still up in the air
by Luke James   |   Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Match of the Bay - column on San Jose Earthquakes & the San Francisco Bay Area soccer scene

The end of the 2012 MLS season also saw the end of Simon Dawkins’ two-year loan to San Jose Earthquakes from EPL side Tottenham Hotspur. The 24-year-old was born in Enfield, England, but currently lives in Santa Clara, Calif.

During this last Supporters’ Shield-winning season, Dawkins became one of the Earthquakes’ most valued and dangerous players. He played 29 games, scoring 8 goals with 1 assist in that time.

But what are the chances of him staying with San Jose? Sadly, very slim.

Dawkins joined the Tottenham Hotspur Academy at 17, moving up to feature regularly in the reserves but failing to make the first team. By the time Harry Redknapp was Spurs manager, Dawkins was loaned to Leyton Orient on a one-year loan. Dogged by injury, he was released from his Spurs contract.

He had unsuccessful trials at French club RC Strasbourg and then returned to Tottenham on a non-contract basis while fighting to recover from injury. He was told he would be given another shot at a contract if he was declared fit at the start of the 2010-11 season.

In 2010, Dawkins went for trials at Celtic and AFC Bournemouth, where he was injured in a reserve game against Plymouth Argyle. However, he continued to train with Tottenham, even scoring in a training-ground friendly against Milton Keynes Dons. In March 2011, he was rewarded with a new contract with Spurs. The following day, he was loaned out to the Earthquakes.

Now, every EPL club has someone called the asset manager, who is in charge of player asset management. At Tottenham, that man is Daniel Levy. He saw Dawkins as an opportunity to sign a young, unattached player with some possible resale value to the club. In effect, it appears Dawkins was brought back to the club originally and entirely to serve the role of a saleable asset.

I’m sure Spurs will now circulate Dawkins’ name around for a sale in the upcoming EPL transfer windows. If a decent price can be fetched for the Edgeware-born attacking midfielder, he will be sold. Should a suitable club not be found, he will probably be shipped off on a further loan of convenience.

The question that both San Jose Earthquakes fans and Dawkins are anxious to have answered is: Can that loan continue with San Jose?

I spoke with San Jose manager Frank Yallop, who has extensive experience of the game in England and how it works. He’s in no doubt whatsoever as to the value of Dawkins to the Quakes.

“I think the environment suits him, the way we play and the way the league sets up, suits Simon and he’s a very good player,” Yallop said. “Just to watch him training, he’s marvelous – clean feet, quick, very good vision, and obviously doing well now. So I’m happy for him.”

As to Dawkins staying with the club: “We’ll work out what we can do to keep Simon.”

But Yallop is already on record as stating that the Quakes are not a club with millions of dollars to spend on players. So we all wait to see where Spurs decide their “asset” can be placed to their best advantage.

Toward the end of last season, Dawkins told me:

“Back in England it’s a lot faster,” he said. “Played at a higher tempo but I can play at this (MLS) tempo, this is a good tempo for me to play at. Maybe it suits my game better, just the type of player I am, so I’m really enjoying it.”

I asked him how it felt playing for San Jose.                           

“Ah, it’s excellent, everyone’s just for each other,” Dawkins said. “You can see it on the field. How we’re all together, it’s much better than last year, it’s just amazing to be playing here right now.”

Let’s hope we see Dawkins suiting up in that number 10 San Jose shirt again in the upcoming season.

Luke JAMES

Nationality:
England
College:
Bournville Arts Coll.
Club Domestic:
Manchester United
Club Foreign:
SJ Earthquakes
6'9" Englishman with great view of the game from anywhere in the stadium. Manchester United fan since 1967. San Francisco Bay Area resident and huge (sic) San Jose Earthquakes fan. Covers entire SF Bay area soccer scene for SN.
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