Cade Cowell signed a contract extension on Feb. 11 with the San Jose Earthquakes.
Financial terms for the deal which runs through the 2025 Major League Soccer season with a club option for 2026 for the 18-year-old Ceres native were not disclosed.
“Seeing Cade grow from a promising youth player and having it translate to production at the MLS level has been exciting to watch,” Earthquakes General Manager Chris Leitch said. “Not only did he take on a bigger role as a 17-year-old in 2021, but he also earned a selection to the MLS All-Star team and got his first cap with the USMNT. We’re bullish on his future, excited for his contributions in 2022, and couldn’t be happier to sign him to a long-term contract and play an important role in his continued growth.”
Cowell is looking forward to continuing to play for the MLS club that signed him to a Homegrown Player contract at the age of 15.
“We’ve been working on this deal for a long time and there was a lot of back and forth over a few months,” Cowell said. “I just wanted to get it done and focus on playing ball again. It’s definitely nice to be rewarded for my hard work and be at a place where I feel at home.”
Cowell enjoyed a breakout season during his third year with San Jose.
He scored five goals and dished out six assists, both career-highs, while contributing at forward.
He ranked second on the team in both statistical categories.
“I feel like I’m just starting to get the hang of professional soccer and I’m becoming more confident as time passes,” Cowell said.
Cowell was named the Earthquakes’ 2021 Young Player of the Year.
“It was definitely a nice surprise,” he said.
Cowell also recorded career-highs in appearances (33), starts (14), minutes (1,664) and shots (42) this past season, earning a selection to the 2021 MLS All-Star Team.
He ranked No. 7 on MLS’s 22 players under the age of 22 list as voted on by an expert panel consisting of MLSsoccer.com analysts, MLS Player Department staff and external media on Oct. 13.
Cowell holds numerous age-specific club records, including youngest player to make an MLS appearance (16 years, 150 days), youngest player to make an MLS start (16 years, 325 days), and youngest player to score an MLS goal (16 years, 325 days).
He became the third-youngest player in MLS history to be voted MLS Player of the Week (17 years, 207 days).
The Earthquakes posted a 10-13-11 record in route to a 10th-place finish in the MLS Western Conference standings.
“My third season with the Quakes was overall a positive,” Cowell stated. “I started off the year really well but then faded a bit in the middle of the season. Thank God I was able to play well at the end. The MLS season is very long and it is hard to keep consistency all year long. That is something I’m focused on this next year.”
Cowell’s outstanding play caught the attention of United States Men’s National Soccer Team coach Gregg Berhalter.
He was among 26 players selected to participate in the USMNT December camp and compete in an international friendly match.
Cowell made his debut in USA’s 1-0 win against Bosnia & Herzegovina on Dec. 18 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson.
“To a day that I’ll always remember! What a way to end the year,” he wrote on Instagram.
Cowell entered the game in the 78th minute.
Family and friends watched Cowell reach another major milestone in his soccer career.
“I texted him after the game,” said Jason Martin, Cowell’s eighth-grade history teacher and track and field coach at Cesar Chavez Jr. High. “He got back to me. It was pretty awesome seeing him make his first appearance with USMNT. It looked like he belonged out there. He wasn’t overwhelmed. I’m happy for him and his family. He’s worked hard for everything he’s got. His parents have done a lot for him, too.”
Cowell earned his first-ever call-up to the USMNT in July. He spent several days in Dallas training with U.S. leading up to the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal game versus Jamaica before returning to San Jose.
Cowell made eight prior appearances for the United States at the U-16, U-17, and U-20 levels.
He collected one assist while representing U.S. at the U-20 Revelations Cup in Mexico in November. United States accumulated two losses and one tie.
“It was the first time all of the guys have been together in over two years,” Cowell said. “We didn’t do too well but it was good to be out there and build some chemistry. As for myself, I didn’t have my best tournament. I had a nagging injury late in the year that was bothering me still. I will definitely try and have a better showing next time.”
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.
Cowell didn’t make any appearances in MLS play as a rookie.
He totaled one goal and one assist in 18 games during his second season.
Cowell attended Earthquakes games as a fan during his childhood.
He graduated from Cesar Chavez Jr. High in 2018.
“To watch him grow and impact games, it’s fun,” San Jose teammate Tommy Thompson said during an interview with MLS contributor Tom Bogert during the 2021 season. “He’s a special talent.”
Cowell’s ultimate goal is play First Division soccer overseas.
“I plan on being an Earthquake until the right club comes along,” he said. “I won’t leave just because I can. It has to be with a club that is the perfect fit.”
The 2022 MLS regular season will get underway on Feb. 26.
“The only expectation is to be better than last year,” Cowell said. “I want to improve each year and continue to be in a larger role within the club. If I perform well, that will happen on its own. Starting will only happen if I am taking care of my job on the field and I definitely want to start as many games as possible.”