Mark Watson, a former Charleston Battery captain and assistant coach, was named the interim head coach for Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes.
Watson, 42, replaces head coach Frank Yallop, who stepped down Friday.
After compiling the best regular-season record in the MLS during 2012, the Earthquakes were off to a slow start this year. San Jose was 3-6-6 and in eighth place in the MLS’ Western Conference. The Earthquakes had been outscored 10-1 in their last five matches, including a 1-0 loss to the Battery on May 28 in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup.
“I’ve got very mixed feelings, to be honest,” Watson told mlssoccer.com. “I’ve worked with Frank for a long time. He’s a great friend of mine. So it was very difficult on that side, because it was sad to see him go. But once the decision was made, my focus was purely on what I need to do to get this team going in the right direction and get some wins.”
Watson played in more than 100 games for Charleston from 2002-07 and helped lead the Battery to the USL A-League championship in 2003.
Watson and Yallop played on the Canadian National team together in the 1990s. Watson also served as Yallop’s assistant coach on the Canadian national team from 2004-06. Yallop lured Watson away from the Battery in 2010.
Watson’s first game as head coach will be next Saturday against the Colorado Rapids.
“Mark Watson is an excellent coach and the team is in very good hands,” Yallop said in a prepared statement released by the Earthquakes.
Yallop spent eight-plus years with the Earthquakes over two different stints. He coached the team from 2001-2003, winning two MLS Cups. He returned to the team in 2008. Yallop won the MLS Coach of the Year award in both 2001 and 2012. The Earthquakes reached the playoffs in both 2010 and 2012, while also capturing the Supporters’ Shield in 2012 for the best regular-season record. He posted a 99-86-72 regular season record during his time in San Jose and was 10-7-0 in the MLS Cup Playoffs.