This is 50

Preserving History: A Son’s Mission to Publish His Father’s Iconic 1970s San Jose Earthquakes Photography


Photography is more than just an art form, as Eric Gouldsberry will attest.

The son of former Earthquakes photographer Ray Gouldsberry, he witnessed firsthand how images can not only serve to tell a story, but elicit emotions and actions — and in this case, a way to connect with his father.

“Quakes games were always a great escapism for him,” Eric said.

After inheriting a treasure trove of photos from the club’s NASL days from his late father, he now has thousands of priceless memories preserved on acetate, from Johnny Moore taking on Pelé to the legendary No-Goal Patrol’s exploits at Spartan Stadium.

“I was always a creative type,” Eric shared, as his childhood love of photography even served to shape his future. “It helped me become a graphic designer.”

Eric recently sat down with to discuss his dad’s hallowed photo collection and plans to turn them into a book for future generations of Quakes fans. (Note: The interview was lightly edited for clarity.) Describe your earliest memories of the San Jose Earthquakes.

Eric Gouldsberry: The first time I had ever heard about the Earthquakes I was 11, back in early 1974. It was literally the day after they played their very first game in Vancouver against the Whitecaps of the North American Soccer League. They had a big headline at the top of the sports section of San Jose Mercury News talking about the Earthquakes. I grew up a big soccer fan. I used to get in front of the TV when they were showing Pelé matches and the World Cup.

There wasn't really a whole lot of soccer on TV at that time, so when there was a chance to watch soccer me and my two brothers watched. The Earthquakes made a huge marketing push to make the community aware about the team, so I obviously must have missed that. I don't think my parents did, because they had already decided that we were going to go see the very first home game, which was a week later against the Dallas Tornado. There were 15,000 fans at that first game in Spartan Stadium. It was a terrific experience and we became instantly sold on the Earthquakes!

SJE: What are some of the marketing tactics that got people excited?

EG: The Earthquakes did a lot of really cool things. For instance, the players came on the field before the match and they would kick balls into the stands. The Shakers cheerleaders would trail the Earthquakes and would throw the little mini-balls into the stands, which got the crowd riled up. The stadium speakers would always play Carole King's “I Feel the Earth Move” before the game, obviously a reference to an earthquake. That was an innovative marketing tactic for the time. There were other things too that made players feel like they were part of the community. I kind of feel like we got to know them. For instance, the Quakes in the first couple of years put the players’ first names on the back of their jerseys, instead of the last.

SJE: Were there any more methods of that “one-to-one connection” that stood out to you?

EG: There was a lot of trying to get the fans to feel that they were part of the team, and getting to know the team and so forth. And of course, Spartan Stadium, with these incredible sidelines that they had, you were on top of the action. I remember Gabbo Gavric famously once ran into the wall. He couldn't stop in time and we joked that he had become the first player to attempt an expansion of Spartan Stadium back in the ‘70s when Spartan badly needed to be enlarged, especially after the Earthquakes started filling the stadium up on a regular basis.

And of course, there was Krazy George. He was part of the pageantry outside of the game. We often wondered, how is he going to show up tonight? Is he going to come out of a box? Is he going to show up in a limo? Is he going to come in a helicopter, which he did a couple times? So that was fun and of course, and he roused up the fans. We still talk today about the importance of one-to-one connection. I think that the Earthquakes were the originals at that and getting out in the community and meeting people face to face, and being accessible to the fans.

SJE: Your father Ray was an unbelievable photographer. Can you tell us the origin of how he started shooting Quakes games and his official involvement?

EG: He had a real 9-5 job doing corporate communications for high tech firms, but photography was his hobby. He put up a whole dark room in our house in Saratoga, in a room behind our garage that had a walk-in closet. It had all the accessories of the day for developing film and everything. He was also doing game film for high school football games, and he was a videographer for the 49ers on a few occasions.

So I think word got around about what he was doing and through that avenue he was invited by the Quakes to do a training video that featured some of the Quakes players. This was during the 1975 [NASL] Indoor Tournament right before the second outdoor season started, which was the first trophy that the Quakes won, so it was really cool.

SJE: What do you remember about his experience?

EG: I got to go out on the turf at the Cow Palace, and that was the first time I got to know some of the players, and actually got to pass the ball around with them. That was really cool. From that, I think the Earthquakes asked my father, “Do you want to take some photographs with the players?” And so he took a bunch of color photographs of players outside Spartan Stadium. They were the only color photographs I think he ever took. Everything else he ever shot of the original Earthquakes was in black and white.

From there, I think he was either invited, or he asked to start taking pictures of the games. He started doing that for several games in ’75, and then he did more on a full-time basis for the next three years during the height of the Earthquakes experience in the late ‘70s. He was more of a freelancer. He wasn't doing it for a newspaper or any media, he was doing it for the Earthquakes.

SJE: What do you remember about the development of these photos, and did that spark any interest in photography for yourself?

EG: Well, I've always been kind of a creative type, and I think my parents realized that, and they eventually put me on the path toward being a graphic designer, which is what I do now. But I also enjoy writing and I also enjoy taking pictures. I was a witness to what my father was doing in the darkroom and what he was doing with developing these photos, but what I really enjoyed was looking at his contact prints, and that's where you take five strips of negatives, and you put them together and you basically take an 8 1/2 by 11” exposure of it, and from that you can examine all the photos at once and try to figure out which ones were the best one to develop.

SJE: What are some of your favorites from the photos you’ve shared with us?


EG: This is probably my very favorite photo. This was John Rowlands scoring a goal against the Washington Diplomats. I love this photo because you see all four players doing different forms of celebrations; the composition is just so fantastic. You can see the fans cheering in the background. The irony of this moment is, everybody thinks it's a goal, and while they're celebrating, the referee is waving the goal off. But the photo captured the energy of the peak of the Quakes experience during those years. This is pretty much sold-out Spartan Stadium. It held 18,000 and I think they had close to 18,000 on that day.


This was the season finale in 1976, against Pelé and the New York Cosmos with 25,000 people jammed into Spartan Stadium. The picture shows Miroslav Pavlović, who played for the Yugoslavia national team and was a terrific iron-man, center-back defender for the Earthquakes. This was in the last minute of the game, with the Quakes ahead, 2-1. Pelé was coming in to fire a shot on goal, and out of nowhere came Pavlović to knock the ball away. You can see the ball ricocheting off to the right. Goalie Mike Hewitt is diving at left, anticipating the shot, while Giorgio Chinaglia, the Cosmos’ other big-time star, is waiting for any rebound at left. It was a terrific game, but it almost didn't happen. The Cosmos were complaining about all sorts of things, such as the Quakes having painted their field throughout the year. The penalty area was in red, and the center circle was in the shape of a ball. More contentiously, there was almost no room on the already-tight sideline because the Earthquakes had brought in all these temporary small bleacher stands to seat more fans; there was literally like a yard or two between those stands and the playing field.

SJE: When did you decide to compile this and make them into a book?

EG: I was thinking about doing a book as far back as the ‘90s, and I was wrestling with the idea of wanting to interview players. In the mid 2010s, I asked my dad if I could inherit all the photos, because he was basically retired with my mom in Texas, and he wasn't going to do anything with them.

I asked if I could do a book with these photos, and he was more than happy to give them to me. After he passed away in 2019, I decided, “OK, I gotta do this. I really want to do this.” I approached it from just my memories and other information from all these magazines and articles I somehow managed to hold onto, a lot of which sparked other memories. I just wanted to put together a really nice book that kind of captured the mania of the time.


SJE: Where are you in the process of getting this book published?

EG: I’ve spoken to a few publishers, but there hasn’t been much developing from those conversations. I feel really good about what I’ve written and designed around my father’s pictures with this book, and I hope that someone out there with connections will help boost its chances of getting published, because I know there's a lot of people out there who would love to have this book. It may be a regional audience, but I think anybody who sees this will appreciate the story, whether they were parents taking their kids to the game, or the kids themselves growing up with the Earthquakes. I think this will bring back a lot of memories for them. It's American soccer history.

SJE: Do you think getting this book published would be a fitting tribute to your dad?

EG: The relationship with my father wasn't the warmest, but that’s not saying we didn't get along—we did. He was just very business-like in nature, and he was very focused on teaching me about the rights and wrongs of life, and the idea of “Don't depend on anybody.” Pull up your bootstraps and make a life for yourself, because that's pretty much the way he did it. He came from a poor family and had a very challenging childhood, so it was a long and impressive journey from those early struggles to succeeding in Silicon Valley after we settled here in the late 1960s.

When it came time to do this book and look back at all my father’s photos, it did bring back a lot of good memories for me, not just for me personally but from a family perspective as well, because between myself, my parents, and my two older brothers, we were really all into the Earthquakes. We enjoyed going to all the games and my father enjoyed taking the pictures, but at some point, he also wanted to rejoin us in the stands and just enjoy the games with us.

I don't know if my father meant it to be this way, but I think in the long run, the photos were like a cherished gift, maybe because he knew I was going to do something with the pics at some point and I had this creative energy within me to do something with them. Doing a book like this is great, because it puts together all that I love into something. I love doing design. I love writing. I love history, and I love soccer. And I have my father to thank for that.

Eric Gouldsberry is the owner and art director of Eric Gouldsberry Art Direction (EGAD), a San José-based graphic design firm. He is currently working on publishing his book “Our Life & Times with the Earthquakes: Images & Memories from the Glory Days of San Jose’s Original Pro Soccer Team” during the Quakes’ 50th anniversary season, so that his father’s historic photos can be preserved and enjoyed by all American soccer historians and fans. For more information please contact Eric at