MLS: UCR star signs with Quakes

The San Jose Earthquakes have signed forward Cesar Diaz Pizarro, who starred at UC Riverside and was selected in the second round of Major League Soccer's supplemental draft in January.

Diaz Pizarro (Chino Hills/Ayala HS) was the Big West Conference's Co-Offensive Player of the Year last fall after scoring nine goals for the Highlanders, who went 9-6-4 with two victories over national powerhouse UC Santa Barbara and another over conference titlist UC Irvine, a top 10 team.

Diaz Pizarro, 21, was considered one of the top forwards on the West Coast, but he was not invited to MLS's pre-draft combine in Florida. The Quakes have had success with under-valued players from Southern California, last year signing Loyola Marymount star Rafael Baca (Lawndale/Animo Leadership HS).

“We liked what we saw from Cesar in our [club] combine and during the preseason,” Earthquakes coach Frank Yallop told his team's website. “He was a quality goalscorer in college from a competitive conference, and we would like to see him develop into the same thing in our league. He’s tall, good on the ball and a hard worker, and we’re happy to have him in San Jose.”

In other MLS news:

  • Defender George John's hoped-for transfer to West Ham United has been quashed, and he has returned to FC Dallas following a short-term loan to the second-tier English club.

  • After playing in three preseason games, 2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira is back in a walking boot. The FC Dallas talisman, whose season ended last year with a broken ankle, is dealing with an Achilles' tendon issue, Hoops coach Schellas Hyndman told MLS's website, after “getting kicked so much” in a friendly against NASL side Orlando City SC.

  • Montreal signed Italian defender Matteo Ferrari, 32, who has spent the past two seasons with Turkish giant Besiktas and has played in Serie A with Inter Milan, Parma and AS Roma, and in England with Everton. The Impact also signed draft picks Calum Mallace and Gienir Garcia, both defenders, and forward Evan James.

  • New England nabbed midfielder Lee Nguyen in Friday's waiver draft. Vancouver released the Texan on Thursday.

  • Real Salt Lake signed eight players -- defenders Leone Cruz, Diogo de Almeida and Terukazu Tanaka, midfielders Enzo Martinez, Jonny Steele and Sebastian Velasquez, forward Emiliano Bonfigli and goalkeeper Lalo Fernandez -- to complete a 26-man roster.

  • Seattle signed SuperDraft picks Andrew Duran, a defender, and Babayele Sodade, a forward, and goalkeeper Andrew Weber, who was with San Jose the past three seasons.

  • Columbus signed defender Aubrey Perry, a SuperDraft selection, and midfielder Kirk Urso, taken in the supplemental draft.

  • D.C. United loaned defensive midfielder Conor Shanosky, 20, to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers for the NASL season.

  • Philadelphia signed Chris Konopka, who was an MLS pool goalkeeper last season.

  • Toronto FC waived midfielder Elbekay Bouchiba, who missed the 2011 season after suffering a torn ACL during preseason.