Earthquakes hire Yallop

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Frank Yallop's tumultuous time in L.A. is over. The expansion San Jose Earthquakes have reached an agreement to buy out Yallop's contract from the Los Angeles Galaxy and bring the coach back to the Bay Area, has learned.

Yallop met with his Galaxy players Sunday night to let them know of his intentions. According to an MLS source, an official announcement is likely to be made on Tuesday.

"Obviously, we're disappointed,'' David Beckham told reporters Sunday night after the Galaxy played a charity match to benefit the victims of the Southern California wildfires. "We felt that he was the right man. We felt that he's a good manager and a strong character with the team. But, we've all said, he's not walking away. He's looking after himself and he's looking after his family. It's what we would all do. We're sad to see him leave and we wish him all the luck and all the best.''

Yallop took the brunt of the blame for the Galaxy's disappointing 2007 season, in which they finished with a 9-14-7 record, failed to make the playoffs for the second year in a row and in general wilted under the circus of Beckham's midseason arrival to MLS.

The Galaxy reportedly were considering firing Yallop, but an amicable negotiation with the expansion Earthquakes allows them to save face. The source said Yallop received a small buyout from the Galaxy and will immediately assume the head coaching job at San Jose, which will re-join MLS for the '08 season.

Yallop will return to the site of his biggest success as an MLS coach. He was enormously popular during his four years with the previous Earthquakes, who moved to Houston in 2005. Yallop inherited a team that finished with the league's worst record in 2000, and coached it to the MLS Cup title in '01, his first season on the job. He then guided the Quakes to a second league title two years later.

Yallop left the team in '04 to take charge of the Canadian national team, which he led for three years before taking the head coaching job in L.A.

Yallop's return to San Jose will reunite him with John Doyle, a former Quakes defender who retired in 2000 and served as an assistant coach. Doyle was named the new Quakes general manager last month.

The pilfering of Yallop from L.A. is a small modicum of revenge for Earthquakes fans -- their biggest star, Landon Donovan, joined the archrival Galaxy in '05 after playing a season in Germany instead of returning to San Jose, where he spent three successful seasons.

Despite Yallop's failure to return the two-time MLS Cup champion Galaxy to another title during his 1½ seasons in L.A., he is considered one of the better coaches in MLS. The English-born Canadian is also a former MLS player, spending three seasons with the now-defunct Tampa Bay Mutiny from 1996 to '98.