By VINCE MADURI
Few supplemental draft picks have been able to have the kind of instant success San Jose Earthquakes forward Adam Jahn has enjoyed just two games into his young career.
Jahn, a Stanford graduate who also grew up in El Macero, California near Sacramento, was selected by his hometown club in the first round of the MLS Supplemental Draft in January (15th overall), and has wasted little time announcing himself to the league with a stellar substitute appearance against the Red Bulls Sunday, and helping San Jose overcome a 1-0 deficit very late in the match.
The rookie entered the game in the 67th minute, then promptly got on the end of a Sam Cronin cross for the tying goal in the 83rd minute.
Ten minutes later, the rookie drew a game-winning penalty when Jahn headed a ball into Roy Miller’s hand off a corner kick. After Miller was then called for encroachment on the first attempt, reigning MVP Chris Wondolowski converted the second attempt to clinch a Quakes victory.
“Before I had gone into the game, the coaches told me, ‘Just get into the box and fight for balls,’” Jahn told SBI. “Sam [Cronin] played a great ball and the goalie didn’t get it, so I just had to lunge for it. And I’m pretty tall, so my height helped me on that one.”
“[Jahn] had a good preseason,” head coach Frank Yallop said. “We always had faith that he could [play well]. I think it’s more of a mental thing. How is he going to handle the situation? It’s easier to play players that have been there before, but when he got his chance, he took it with both hands. It wasn’t a surprise that he played well. He has that in him. We just need to make sure that he becomes consistent.”
Normally, Adam Jahn would have been allowed to sit and bide his time in a team as deep in the forward position as San Jose is, but injuries to Alan Gordon and Steven Lenhart has forced the 22-year-old into early action.
It’s safe to say Jahn has responded to his coach’s challenge better than anyone could have expected, and his play has Frank Yallop handing out high praise.
“We’ve had a ton of injuries. A lot of times we try to bring guys along slowly but as we sit right now, we have a lot of strikers out,” Yallop said. “We wouldn’t put him on the field if we didn’t think he could do it. That’s for sure. We always thought he was good enough to contribute. That’s the reason we put him on and it’s worked out great.”
Once Gordon and Lenhart come back, the “bash brothers” will surely have some added competition as Adam Jahn cements his name into the minds of his coaches.
“[Jahn is] another good young player that’s coming through, learning our system, the way we play and he shoots [the ball],” Yallop said, praising the young player. “I think he’s a really hard working kid that wants to do well. So, I don’t expect anything different from him for the rest of the season and moving forward.”
“All the forwards understand that we just go out there and give 100% and then the coach will select who he thinks will give the best option for the game. So, it doesn’t matter which one of us goes into the game. As long as we’re giving effort and our team wins, we’re all happy.”