San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed really hit the nail on the head Saturday night at our groundbreaking announcement when he said: "San Jose has long been the home of professional soccer, but professional soccer has never had a home to call its own here, and this is going to make it happen.” Now, we have an opportunity to begin a new era of Earthquakes soccer.
Our organization was proud to announce the official groundbreaking date for our new stadium over the weekend and we were even happier to celebrate that announcement with our fans in the Epicenter. While it has been a long and strange journey for many Quakes fans and the community to achieve this special milestone, the important thing is that we made it and have a truly world class facility on tap for the community to enjoy at the beginning of the 2014 season.
It was great to have the mayor at the event because without his leadership, especially in the face of many obstacles on the entitlement and development process, the stadium would never have happened. As important, our dedicated ownership group of Lew Wolff and John Fisher had the vision back in 2006 when the club was sent off to Houston to re-invest and bring the Quakes back to life. We owe them a debt of gratitude for that courageous gesture. Finally, despite all the twists and turns, the local soccer community, especially Soccer Silicon Valley, has always been there for us. Their unwavering support helped move the process forward and get us to this historic day.
The impact of having our own stadium cannot be exaggerated. It will transform the club into one of the premier sports properties not only in the Bay Area but also in North America. It will allow us to compete with the other MLS teams that have long had more resources for players. It will inspire future generations of soccer players to develop in the shadow of the 18,000-seat facility on city funded community fields. These kids will have the opportunity to work toward donning our colors at the academy level and, hopefully, the first team and national level. This has always been the dream. Now, that vision is becoming a reality on Oct. 21 at high noon when we break ground on our privately financed stadium.
I was thrilled with the turnout at the announcement before the Rapids match. The event was as much an old fashioned rally as a press conference. That speaks to the passion of the fan base and the excitement and anticipation over the stadium and its progress. The Ultras stole the show with their chants and energy – well done!
Such a momentous occasion deserves a memorable event and that is exactly what we have planned in attempting to break the Guinness World record for the largest participatory groundbreaking ever. I really need everyone’s help in getting the word out on Guinness World Record attempt. Please register as soon as possible to ensure that you will get one of the 6,000 shovels. I want to shatter the 4,532-person record from Jaipur, India. I know our dedicated and passionate fan base can make that happen.
A couple of other key updates on the stadium:
- Club Seats: Our club seats are completely sold out. This is a strong indication of the market for soccer here in the Bay Area and the interest in the stadium. We were happy to see both existing diehard fans as well as new season ticket holders sign up for these truly unique seats at the pitch level.
- Supporters Section: After close coordination with the Ultras and Casbah, we have expanded this section for supporters in the closed end zone. We recognize the importance of our supporters groups and want to make sure they have an area that is their own and large enough to accommodate their growing numbers.
- Party Decks: We have added two party decks in the upper corners of the enclosed end of the stadium. These will be great areas for group outings and will provide an awesome viewpoint of the action.
As always, I am happy to answer any questions on twitter @QuakesPrez or via email at President@sjearthquakes.com. Alternatively, I have my weekly office hours on Tuesdays between 3-5 p.m. I hope to see everyone out for the match this Sunday when we take on Chivas USA.