Soccer: Jon Busch takes nothing for granted

Guilderland High School grad still working hard 11 years into MLS career

Guilderland High School graduate Jon Busch is playing his third season with the San Jose Earthquakes.

Guilderland High School graduate Jon Busch is playing his third season with the San Jose Earthquakes.

Busch’s finest season came in 2008, when he guided Chicago to a 13-107 record and was named the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year after posting 122 saves, a league-best .782 save percentage and 10 shutouts.

“It meant a lot to me to win that award,” said Busch. “It meant that I had arrived.”

Busch would have also been a good candidate for Comeback Player of the Year in 2008. He tore a knee ligament in 2006 while playing for Columbus, and he missed most of the 2007 season with another injury.

Since those two lost seasons, Busch has been fairly lucky on the health front, and it’s shown in his on-field performance. His save percentage and goals against average have been consistently among the best in the league.

“Once I got 100 percent healthy several years ago, I’ve had to maintain my health,” said Busch. “From there, I credit not only my off-season workouts but also my in-season workouts for helping me.”

As Busch has gone through his MLS journey, he’s seen the league grow from a third-tier sport in the American pro sports landscape to a well-regarded second-tier sport that has a vibrant fan base.

“It’s really exciting for me to see how this league has grown and to see the younger players coming up,” said Busch.

Busch said some of the craziest fans are in Seattle, where the people have been known to throw unflattering comments in the direction of the opposing goaltender.

“I actually enjoy listening to some of the crazy comments because they can be quite funny,” said Busch. “A few years ago, I might have turned around and said something back to them, but now I just laugh.”

San Jose is going through its own soccer renaissance. A new soccer-specific stadium is being built for the Earthquakes, which is scheduled to open in 2013. When completed, it will be the 12th soccer-specific stadium in the 19-team league.

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