Friday was a bittersweet day for the San Jose Earthquakes. We said our goodbyes to a great coach and fantastic man in Frank Yallop. At the same time, we look forward both to a critical stretch of matches that will undoubtedly determine our ability to make the playoffs and also toward a long-term decision at head coach.
I am excited to give Mark Watson a real opportunity to earn a spot as our full time head coach. He is a bright, young coach and has been a big part of the success we had over the past three seasons. We know he and the coaching staff will work hard to help us turn this season around.
While we have confidence in Mark, I have a responsibility to all our stakeholders to conduct a comprehensive international search for a new head coach. This will involve clearly defining our style of play, the resources we will be able to provide the technical side of the organization, and the increasingly important role of the academy and homegrown players.
Our renewed focus is being driven by two main factors: the increasingly competitive soccer landscape here in the US as well as the construction of our new stadium. The stadium and community soccer fields being built adjacent to the stadium site will enable the organization to make additional investments in player development, player acquisition and player retention. It will also give us the facilities to better compete against other MLS teams as well as international teams. It will also require a much more thought out plan on the technical side. This is a huge undertaking and involves building our academy, launching an international scouting network, and utilizing technology to better evaluate and manage talent.
San Jose already is one of the best places in the world to live. The diversity of our community, great weather, and economic opportunities are unparalleled. Adding a new top-notch stadium with co-located training facilities will give us an amazing leg up on so many other competitors as we recruit talent and build our club. These investments will usher in a new day.
For many years, we have been the underdog. Content to get by with what we have and by working harder than opponents. This has served us well and we have two MLS Cups and two Supporters’ Shields to show for it. But the League is getting far more competitive and international and we need to keep up. That is one of the key reasons we are building the new stadium.
The San Jose Earthquakes will continue to exhibit the hard work and blue-collar ethos that is at the core of our identity. That will not change. But the level of sophistication and management of the technical aspects of the business are going to expand. This will better position us both in MLS and worldwide. Frankly, it is the only way for us to compete and live up to our mission to build a world class soccer club that is commensurate with the most international and forward thinking community in the world: Silicon Valley.