The San Jose Earthquakes have removed Mark Watson's interim tag and hired him as head coach, the team announced Wednesday. The length and terms of the deal were not announced due to club policy.
“I'm very excited for the opportunity," Watson said in a team release. "We have a great group here and I’m grateful for the chance to be here on a permanent deal. I think the club is heading in the right direction and look forward to building on the success we had at the end of this season.”
Watson took over after Frank Yallop was fired during the 2013 season. Yallop, rumored to be the top candidate for Vancouver's recently announced coaching vacancy, had guided the club to the Supporters' Shield in 2012 but the club was eliminated in the playoffs, and didn't live up to expectations the previous year had engendered.
The club went 11-5-3 under Watson's guidance, making a late push for the postseason that ultimately fell short. The Quakes were previously set to move into a new stadium in 2014, but the new ground's opening has been pushed back to 2015 because of construction delays. That led to speculation the Quakes would stick with former Canadian international Watson for at least one more year rather than bringing in a big-time name from outside the club. However, the deal was described by club president Dave Kaval as multi-year contract.
In addition to the winning record, the Quakes 1.89 points-per-game mark after Watson took over on June 7 was MLS's best. Watson also oversaw San Jose's advancement in the CONCACAF Champions League, in which the club narrowly avoided embarrassment by beating Guatemalan club Herida on the final match day to advance to the quarterfinals.