The mystery of Matt Watson's San Jose training excursion appears to be solved. Yesterday's very welcome news of the second team All-USL-1 midfielder's return to Cary for the 2009 season was also puzzling in light of last week's report that he was training with the MLS Earthquakes.
We reached Watson via email and he answered most of our questions:
"I went to San Jose at the end of last season around October and trained for one week...[I] met the team and coaches and had a really good time. I was interested in going to play with them. [...] The team and coaching staff all seemed great and it's a beautiful city. I was a free agent as I was only signed to Carolina for one season so I didn't need permission—although I had the blessing of Scotty [Schweitzer, the since-departed RailHawks coach] and Damon [Nahas, CEO of Cary's Next Level Academy] to go out there and try to play in the MLS."
One factor in Watson's return was the rapport he established with new coach Martin Rennie:
"I spoke to Martin Rennie—I felt like he had my best interests in mind. Obviously, I don't know him that well, but from our conversations, I feel like he is a great coach as well as a great person. [...] I am very excited to work with Martin, as well as all the new players in Carolina. Hopefully, we can put together a great season."
Watson says that personal factors weighed in his decision to return to Cary, as well.
"Me and my future wife are having a daughter in April. Her parents are based in Maryland, my family is in England and going over to the West Coast would have been very tough. Also, the cost of living in San Jose is astronomical."
Watson says he hopes to have an opportunity to crack an MLS squad in the future:
"I would still like to play in the MLS very much at some point but it is one step at a time for me and my family.[...] It was a really tough decision for me but I took [my] time and thought through every aspect of playing for each team, as well as calling on the advice of everyone who I thought would have good insight for me—from family to coaches.
In the end I decided that, right now, Carolina is the best place for me."
On the matter of when he'll be back in Cary, Watson wasn't certain.
"I am not 100 percent on this but I do not believe I will be available for [the March 14 Community Shield match] versus New England as the indoor regular season runs until March 28."