It was a night for the ages - the opening of Levi’s® Stadium, one of the most significant public works projects in the modern era and a technological and ecological marvel benefiting Silicon Valley’s reputation as the center for innovation. And in the middle of it all, the San Jose Earthquakes - the original professional sports team of the South Bay. With forty years of history and one of the most die hard and devoted fan bases in sports, the Quakes rose to the occasion in beating the Seattle Sounders FC in a dramatic 1-0 victory. The win was a perfect christening of the new building and a tremendous showcase of our club, our league and our sport.
The event was the culmination of the “Summer of Soccer” that started with the exciting U.S. Men’s National Team run in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. It included the spellbinding run of the USMNT through the “Group of Death” gauntlet. Viewing parties spread across the Bay Area, jam-packed with soccer and Quakes fans: thousands in downtown San Jose in Cesar Chavez Park cheered on a late winning goal against Ghana, bars and restaurants bubbling with energy when the pride of the Quakes, Chris Wondolowski, made his debut against Portugal. And most importantly, a giant exhale as the Americans succeeded in reaching the Round of 16.
Here at the Quakes, we rode the groundswell of interest in soccer by once again packing Stanford Stadium with 50,000 fans for the California Clasico and closing down Candlestick Park against Spanish Champion and Champions League finalist, Atletico Madrid, in one of the biggest match-ups in club history. Finally, we welcomed the Niners to the South Bay with a decisive win against the Sounders FC in front of over 48,000 fans at the debut of Levi’s® Stadium.
The trajectory of soccer and its continued success both nationally and internationally is leading towards the opening of our new state-of-the-art 18,000 seat stadium on the corner of Coleman and Newhall in San Jose. This will usher in a new era for our club. The resources the stadium will enable us to compete on the pitch with the upper echelon teams in Major League Soccer. Our investment in Matias Perez Garcia is a clear example of the stadium having an effect on our player procurement. It also allows us to play a more attacking creative style of play. Traditionally, we had been forced to play a more direct defensive style to compete with the more resourced clubs. It was the only way to level the playing field. The new vision for the club is to open up the offense as well as the pipeline of talented tactically gifted players like Yannick Djalo and Matias Perez Garcia - players that can dazzle and score goals; players that can win championships and add to our storied history
It was an historic summer for soccer and the San Jose Earthquakes. I am thrilled with the support we have received from our fans and the community. Together, we are building something special: a club that we can be proud of and that represents the diversity, history, and ethos of our beloved community. I am honored to be leading our organization at this unprecedented and historic time. I know that together we will take the next step towards greatness.