SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The San Jose Earthquakes have permission to move the franchise for next season.
Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber said Tuesday that the league told the Earthquakes' ownership group at recent MLS meetings it could move the team in time for 2006. A decision on the club's new home will be made in the next 30 days, but Garber's announcement doesn't necessarily mean the franchise will relocate, the team said.
"At the recent MLS Board of Governors meeting in Frisco, Texas, the Anschutz Entertainment Group was granted approval by the board to move the San Jose Earthquakes to a number of potential cities, including Houston, Texas," Garber said in a statement.
"In order to ensure that the team will have the appropriate time to prepare for the 2006 season, a final decision on the location of the team will be reached within the next 30 days."
San Jose, the Western Conference regular-season champion, lost to the eventual MLS Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy in the conference semifinals last month.
The Earthquakes have won consistently in one of the country's busiest sports markets despite front-office turmoil and a dwindling fan base, the loss of superstars such as Landon Donovan and a roster of virtually unknown players.
Coach Dominic Kinnear was chosen MLS Coach of the Year this season.
The grass-roots organization Soccer Silicon Valley has been exploring ways to keep the Earthquakes in the Bay Area.