Cannon’s Long Wait Nearly Over |

Cannon’s Long Wait Nearly Over

When the San Jose Earthquakes kick off against the Chicago Fire this Saturday, it will be the culmination of a nearly 30-month wait for Quakes fans, for it has been that long since the previous incarnation of the team left for southern climes. But for goalkeeper Joe Cannon, the wait has been even longer, and given the affection he has for his hometown club, Saturday’s match figures to be an even bigger thrill for Cannon than it will be for the supporters.

A native of nearby Los Altos, Cannon first suited up for the Quakes during their Dark Age; 1999 to be exact. And he was in goal during the side’s ascension in 2001, when San Jose won their first MLS Cup. The St. Francis High School graduate also remembers the last time he donned a Quakes’ uniform in front of the home folks, and it was far from a happy memory.

“It was 2002 [in the playoffs], we played Columbus in San Jose, and we lost 2-1,” Cannon recalled ruefully. “Richard Mulrooney broke his foot the week before, and then we went to Columbus and lost 2-1 again.”

Following that season, a contract dispute saw Cannon leave the Quakes and embark on a nomadic journey that involved playing in two countries, for three different clubs, and in one parallel universe. But through all of his travels to France, Colorado, Los Angeles, and Beckham-mania, San Jose was never far from his mind. And even after the team skipped town for Houston after the 2005 season, Cannon never doubted that both he and professional soccer would return to the Bay Area.

“I always thought this day would come,” said Cannon. “It’s weird. I’ve always felt like this is where I belong. I didn’t know I’d be here so quickly; I thought maybe at the end of my career. But I’ve got a few years left and I want to see this through. I want to make sure that no matter what happens, this franchise…that we just improve every year. I think that is important to us.”

Saturday represents that next opportunity for improvement, with the ubiquitous Cuauhtémoc Blanco and the rest of his Fire teammates providing a significant obstacle. Chicago has recorded a win and a tie in the season’s first two weeks, including a 4-0 demolition of last year’s losing MLS Cup finalist, the New England Revolution.

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Posted on: April 11, 2008