SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes announced today that former star forward Paul Child and the team’s original owner Milan Mandaric have been named to the Earthquakes Hall of Fame. The two former members of the North American Soccer League (NASL) Earthquakes will be inducted to the club’s Hall of Fame at a ceremony during halftime of San Jose’s match on Sept. 29 against FC Dallas. To celebrate the occasion, 5,000 fans will receive a commemorative pin courtesy of XFINITY.
“Paul Child and Milan Mandaric are two of the people that were essential in putting the Earthquakes and soccer on the map in San Jose and the country,” said Earthquakes President Dave Kaval. “We are honored that they will be entering our Hall of Fame and we look forward to welcoming them back to San Jose in September.”
Mandaric, who will be inducted in the Hall of Fame’s ‘Builder’ category, was the first owner of the Earthquakes in 1974 and helped make the team one of the most successful in the NASL. The Quakes were San Jose’s first professional sports franchise and they received overwhelming support from the local fans. Under his guidance, the team rewarded that support by making the playoffs in their first year of existence.
The team made an even bigger impact off the field. They were one of the leaders in attendance in the NASL and became a model for other clubs with their strong commitment to community outreach. Under Mandaric’s guidance, the Quakes helped build the game of soccer in the Bay Area as players coached clinics and youth teams across Northern California.
Mandaric, along with his first general manager Dick Berg, was also responsible for ensuring that the Quakes’ franchise was located in San Jose and not Oakland or San Francisco as the league wanted. By placing the Quakes in San Jose, Mandaric helped make San Jose a “major league city”, as Mercury News writer Fred Guzman wrote in 1974. The native of Serbia went on to own a number of professional soccer teams around the world, including the Oakland Stompers (NASL), St. Louis Storm (MISL), R. Charleroi SC (Belgium), OGC Nice (France), Portsmouth (England) and Leicester City (England). He currently owns Sheffield Wednesday (England), which he helped earn promotion the Championship League this season.
“I have wonderful memories of my time as the founding owner of the club and I will always have a special place in my heart for both the team and the wonderful supporters who have remained so loyal throughout the club’s history,” said Mandaric. “I would like to thank the President Dave Kaval for this honor and I am extremely confident that under his strong management the club will continue to progress and grow even more successful in the future.”
Child was the first star for the NASL Quakes, leading the league in scoring in 1974 with 15 goals and six assists to help San Jose to the playoffs, earning First-Team All-Star honors in the process. A native of Birmingham, England, Child came to the United States from Aston Villa’s youth system in 1972 to play for the Atlanta franchise in the NASL. After two seasons there, he found his niche in San Jose, playing for the Quakes from 1974-79 and becoming the franchise’s all-time leader in goals with 61.
“It is a great feeling when the club that you got your career really started with calls you and tells you that they are putting you into the Hall of Fame,” said Child. “I loved playing for San Jose in front of the great fans out there. There were a lot of great players there that made me a better player and were a joy to play with. This is a special honor because San Jose is where it all started for me.”
Overall, he appeared in 149 outdoor games for San Jose, but he also had a strong indoor career as well. In 1975, he was named Most Valuable Player of the NASL Indoor Tournament, leading the Quakes to the title at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. Despite being from England, he was called up to the U.S. National Team and earned two caps in 1973. Overall, Child played 239 games for four different NASL teams and scored 102 goals, fifth all-time in NASL history. He was inducted into the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame in 2003.
About the Earthquakes Hall of Fame
The San Jose Earthquakes Hall of Fame was created in 2005 and currently has three members, John Doyle, Ronald Cerritos and Troy Dayak. Members of the Hall of Fame are selected by a Hall of Fame Committee that consists of former players, administrators and members of the media. To be eligible for the Earthquakes Hall of Fame, a person must have contributed significantly to the success of the club on or off the field. People can be inducted in two categories: player or builder. The players inducted must have played a minimum of two years for the team and made a major impact on the field of play. Players inducted must also be people of the highest moral integrity. Their service to the community can also be factored into their election to the Hall. Builders can be coaches, owners or administrators and they must have contributed significantly to the growth of the club on or off the field. They also must be people of the highest moral integrity.