Ceres native Cade Cowell gained valuable experience while suiting up for the San Jose Earthquakes at the Major League Soccer is Back Tournament in Florida.
The 16-year-old winger/forward returned home on Aug. 2 after spending close to six weeks in Orlando.
Cowell couldn’t be reached for comment as San Jose doesn’t allow its younger players to be interviewed by the media.
“He’s thankful for the minutes he got on the field,” said Debin Cowell, Cade’s father. “It’s reassuring. He’s moving in the right direction.”
Cowell contributed as a substitute in two of five matches as the Earthquakes compiled a 3-1-1 record on their way to a top-eight finish at the 24-team tournament.
San Jose lost 4-1 to Minnesota United FC in the quarterfinals on Aug. 1 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
Cowell brought some much-needed energy to the field during San Jose’s 5-2 triumph over Real Salt Lake in the Round of 16 Knockout Stage on July 27.
The Earthquakes were clinging to a 3-2 lead when Cowell entered the match with less than 10 minutes to play. His pressure from the left side of the pitch led to San Jose’s fourth goal, which was scored by Chris Wondolowski in the 86th minute.
Cowell and the Earthquakes placed first in Group B of the MLS is Back Tournament
San Jose collected two wins and one draw.
The Earthquakes shut out Chicago Fire FC 2-0 on July 19 and stormed back for a 4-3 win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on July 15.
Cowell made his second MLS appearance when he entered the match as substitute late in the second half during the Earthquakes’ 0-0 tie versus 2019 league champion Seattle Sounders FC on July 10.
“He had a great time,” Debin said. “He got to see what it’s like to be a pro away from family. He was totally focused on his job. It made him more hungry.”
The MLS is Back Tournament marked the restart of the season, which was postponed for four months due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Cowell made his MLS debut on March 8.
At 16 years and 150 days old, Cade became the youngest player in club history—fifth youngest in league history—to make an appearance in a league game.
Cowell contributed at forward in the second half of the Earthquakes’ 5-2 home loss to Minnesota United FC.
Cowell inked a five-year contract with San Jose at the age of 15 in January of 2019.
He became the youngest player signing in Earthquakes and Bay Area team sports history.
“He’s got to keep grinding,” Debin said. “He’s got a long road ahead of him. He hasn’t made it by any means. Eventually, he’s going to do some great things.”
The 2020 MLS regular season will kick off later this month.
The Earthquakes will host the Portland Timbers on Aug. 26.
If Cowell doesn’t make the 18-man active roster for the game, he’ll most likely suit up for United Soccer League pro affiliate Reno 1868 FC.
“He’s shooting at becoming a full-time starter,” Debin said. “That’s his goal with the Quakes. He wants to be on the field every week and help the team build something special.”