Kaval's Kickoff: Looking forward to West Brom, USOC
With the win in Portland, the fans have a chance to see a U.S. Open Cup match at Buck Shaw Stadium. In the past, these matches have been poorly attended. Frankly, many teams in MLS dreaded advancing in US Open Cup play because of the lackluster fan support, difficult match times, negative effect on MLS competitiveness, and overall malaise about the entire tournament.
We are hoping that both casual and die-hard fans will appreciate what a long road the US Open Cup is for a club like the Quakes. Balancing the success in US Open play with the knowledge that every point in the MLS season matters is not easy. I know the match is on a Tuesday and that it is only two weeks from now but it would certainly mean a lot to the team to see a great showing of fan support. This will fuel the determination of our team and create a better environment to help reach the Round of 16. A great turnout would also affect our thinking about possibly hosting future rounds or even the championship if we advance. I know I can count on the Soccer City USA fans of San Jose to represent.
I am also pleased to report that we will be hosting one of the most storied Barclays English Premier League clubs this summer. West Bromwich Albion will play the San Jose Earthquakes on Tuesday, July 12 at Buck Shaw Stadium with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. West Bromwich Albion (aka The Baggies) was a founding member of the Football League in 1888, the original association football league in England. The team was a juggernaut back in the day with five FA Cup wins and won the English championship in 1920. The club fell on hard times in the 1980s and 1990s but have experienced a rebirth here in the 21st Century.
The Baggies feature some interesting international players including their captain and attacking midfielder, Chris Brunt, from Northern Ireland and Nigerian striker Peter Odemwingie, who has scored 15 goals in the Premiership this year. One of the most interesting story lines might be their coach, Roy Hodgson, who has a long and storied career in European football. This is his first year with West Brom after tenures as manager of Fulham, Inter Milan, and Liverpool. Hodgson ended up with the last laugh on his former club Liverpool when he turned around and beat the Reds 2-1 this season.
This is the second season in a row that we have hosted an English Premier League club. We are excited to provide a unique and memorable experience with this international friendly. It is extremely challenging to schedule and host these types of games, especially in a smaller venue like Buck Shaw. Fitting a match into the busy summer schedule has gotten increasingly more difficult. The increase in MLS matches and the MLS All-Star Game against Manchester United makes finding a suitable date quite challenging. Add on top of that the World Football Challenge schedule and the desire for the top European Clubs to demand seven-figure guaranteed payments and the task is even tougher.
Fortunately, we have a lot of experience and connections in our front office with European and international clubs from around the World. Both Frank Yallop and John Doyle are extremely well connected and VP of Marketing & Communications, Jed Mettee, has spent 10-plus years bringing these matches to the Bay Area. That dream team is able to pound the pavement and keep multiple options open at all times. In all seriousness, we evaluated almost 20 different international options before deciding that West Brom was the best opponent for our fans and for our club. Keep in mind that the relationships we make with these international clubs can have a discernible impact on the pitch with player loans and transfers. Simon Dawkins is a great example of this.
We look forward to another great international friendly at Buck Shaw Stadium on Tuesday July 12 at 7:30 p.m. when your very own Quakes take on West Bromwich Albion of the English Premier League. We hope to see you there.
San Jose Earthquakes