San Jose Earthquakes Sign Jamaican Midfielder Khari Stephenson
SAN JOSE (CBS) – The San Jose Earthquakes announced that they have re-signed Jamaican international midfielder Khari Stephenson. Per league and team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We have always wanted Khari back and we are happy that we were able to work everything out,” said General Manager of Soccer Operations John Doyle. “He brings great touch and good vision to our midfield that should help open up our attack. He made an impact in his short time with us last year and we expect even more this year now that he has joined us in preseason.”
Stephenson, 30, returns for his second season in San Jose. The Earthquakes initially signed the central midfielder on August 10, 2010. Stephenson started each of the 11 games he played for San Jose last season. The lanky playmaker scored his lone goal in a crucial 2-1 win on Sept. 5 against the Houston Dynamo at Robertson Stadium. He also set up Chris Wondolowski’s game-winning goal in a 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City on Aug. 14.
Prior to joining the Earthquakes, he spent five seasons in both Sweden and Norway. The Jamaican midfielder most recently played at Aalesunds FK in the Norwegian Tippeligean (the top league in Norway). He joined Aalesunds in 2008 and scored four goals in 39 appearances, helping his club to the Norwegian Cup title in 2009. He was a part of their qualification for the 2010/2011 Europa Cup also.
Before his move to Norway, Stephenson played three years in Sweden with AIK, a perennial top of the table club and GAIS in the Swedish Allsvenskan (the top Swedish league). With AIK in 2007-08, Stephenson scored a pair of goals in 25 appearances. In 2006, he scored two goals in 25 appearances for GAIS, one of the oldest clubs in Swedish football.
Stephenson began his professional career in MLS with the Chicago Fire after being drafted 27th overall in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft out of Williams College (a Division III school). He was soon traded to Kansas City and scored a goal in the playoffs on the Wizards’ run to the 2004 MLS Cup Final. In his MLS career, he scored one goal in the playoffs and appeared in nine regular season matches for the Wizards, where he was a teammate of current Earthquakes forward, Scott Sealy.
A native of Kingston, Stephenson has made 26 appearances for the Jamaican National Team. He has scored three goals for his country.
Prior to joining MLS, Stephenson was a Division III first team All-American in both his junior and senior seasons at Williams. As a senior, he scored a team-high 15 goals and finished his collegiate career with 40 goals and 18 assists in his four years.
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