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New management axes San Jose coach Osiander; Project-40 adds quartet.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Friday, January 12, 2000) -- Two days after the team’s management was taken over by the National Hockey League Sharks, the San Jose Earthquakes fired coach Lothar Osiander.

Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment, which operates the NHL franchise, also terminated assistant coach Joe Silveira.

"After evaluating many factors, we felt we needed to make this change in order to get to the next level," Greg Elliott, vice president of corporate partnerships for SVS&E, was quoted in a press release. "The fit was not right for the future of this team. This organization is ready to make positive strides this season both on and off the field and this change was necessary to move the organization in the right direction."

Osiander, 61, led the Earthquakes to a 7-17-8 record in his first full season at the helm with the club – named the Clash until last season – missing the playoffs for the fourth straight year. He posted a 2-1 record in the final three games of the 1999 season.

Prior to joining the Earthquakes, Osiander served the similar capacity for the Los Angeles Galaxy, beginning in 1996, where he captured the Western Conference and was an MLS Cup finalist in the league’s inaugural campaign. In addition, he formerly served as head coach of the United States national team, including coaching the U.S. entry in two Olympic Games.

"I respect SVS&E's decision to make a change," Osiander said.

No timetable was announced for naming a new head coach.

Four sign for Project-40

NEW YORK -- MLS announced the signing of four players for its Project-40 youth development program.

Youth national-team standout Devin Barclay, the University of North Carolina's Chris Carrieri, who led the nation in scoring in 2000, San Jose State forward Isaias Bardales Jr., and Milwaukee high schooler Miguel Saavedra were inked and will be entered into the 2001 draft Febuary 5.

At the age of 17, Barclay has already attracted international attention following after a training stint at Liverpool of England’s Premier League. The 5-foot-9, 150-pound striker trained with the Liverpool under-19 side, the reserve squad, and full team. He scored a goal in two scrimmages and had the thrill of playing alongside England national-team star Michael Owen.

"Devin is a pure speedster. He’s a forward with a lot of mobility in addition to being a goal-scorer," said former Pro-40 and new Tampa Bay Mutiny coach Alfonso Mondelo. "He's the type of player who never gives up on the ball and he's a hardworking forward."

A member of the U.S. under-18 national team since 1999, Barclay recently was promoted to U-20s who are preparing for March CONCACAF qualifying matches preceding the word championships June 17-July 7 in Argentina.

Carrieri, 20, a first-team All-American, led NCAA Division I with school-records of 25 goals and 64 points. The 5-8, 150-pound Atlantic Coast Conference "Player of the Year," also provided 14 assists as the Tar Heels were ranked No. 1 for much of their 21-3 season, the best in school history.

Bardales joins the pro ranks following two standout seasons at San Jose State University, which, using his 11 goals and three assists, went 20-1-1 in 2000, advancing to the NCAA tournament appearance.

A member of the U.S. U-20 national team that qualified for the 1999 world championships, Bardales earned 10 caps, but missed the world tournament with an ankle injury. "Isaias is a creative attacking player who has had some bad luck with injuries," said Los Angeles Galaxy coacg Sigi Schmid who led those U-20s.

Although he may be the least known of the four signees, Saavedra, 17, from Milwaukee, was impressive this summer with the national U-18s. He totaled 85 goals and 36 assists in his first three years of varsity competition with Milwaukee Trade and Technical High School, but left the team midway through his senior season after scoring 11 goals in six games to join the Mequon United amateur side.

Saavedra was weighing collegiate scholarship offers from some of the nation's top soccer programs, including the Virginia, Duke, Indiana and Wisconsin - Madison.

Washington agrees to multi-year Crew deal

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Veteran striker Dante Washington has signed a multi-year contract with the league that will keep him in a Columbus Crew uniform. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

"From the very beginning (of the offseason), I think it was pretty obvious that I wanted to be here in Columbus and that I didn't really want to have to go overseas," Washington said. "So I am very pleased that an agreement was finally worked out. I'm excited to be back and I'm getting healthier by the day. I look forward to a very successful 2001 season."

Washington, 30, had surgery September 28 to clean up bone spurs and arthritic changes in his right big toe, but is expected to be ready to open the 2001 season.

In his fifth season in the league, Washington had 15 goal -- including five game-winners -- and nine assists for 39 points, shattering his previous bests in goals (12), assists (6), points (30) and game-winning goals (3), all established in 1997 with Dallas.

"Dante shouldered a lot of the offensive load last season, so we're delighted to have him back, naturally," Crew coach Tom Fitzgerald said. "We would be a much different and less potent team without him, which made him a pretty big piece of the puzzle for us in our efforts to assemble a team which will compete for a championship in 2001."

Dely Valdes leaves Colorado

DENVER -- Forward Jorge Dely Valdes left the Colorado Rapids after two seasons with the team.

Dely Valdes, 33, appeared in 52 regular season games, recording 17 goals and seven assists. His ability to score with his head produce several memorable moments for the Rapids along with his traditional, international cellular "phone call" to his family in Panama every time he scored a goal, a celebration which quickly became imitated in youth games throughout Colorado.

Dely Valdes has reportedly signed with Omiya Ardija FC of Tokyo, a second division team in Japan's J-League.

Galaxy’s Califf has nose repaired

PASADENA, Calif. -- Los Angeles Galaxy defender Danny Califf underwent successful surgery yesterday to repair a broken nose. With six-to-eight weeks needed to fully recover, his status for the CONCACAF Champions Cup January 16-21 has not been determined.

"We will have to take it day-by-day and hopefully things will work, making him available for the Champions Cup," L.A. coach Sigi Schmid said.

Califf, 20, suffered the injury during an accident at home Wednesday.

In other Galaxy news, midfielder Simon Elliott, will pen a column entitled "Simon Says" for the American Youth Soccer Organization's quarterly publication Soccer Now.

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