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Kaval's Kickoff: Soccer returns to Stanford Stadium

Three weeks into the marathon MLS schedule one thing is crystal clear: The 2011 version of our beloved San Jose Earthquakes are really fun to watch. The seesaw battle this weekend against Sounders FC exemplified the grit and tenacity that defines a champion. Not once but twice the team found itself down a goal and, in both instances, fought back with equalizers to manage a draw against one of the better teams in the league.

Both goals were a joy to behold. Sy Dawkins showed a deft touch in notching his first MLS goal off a great service from Bobby Convey after sneaking inside the box against a formidable Seattle defense and polishing off a left footed laser into the far corner. If that goal was a 7.0 on the Quakes "Did You Feel That" Richter scale, Khari Stephenson must have recorded an 11.0 with his lightning strike from 35 yards off Kasey Keller's fingertips and into the upper corner of the net. It even glanced off the crossbar for added effect. Was this the best Quakes goal ever at Buck Shaw stadium? It certainly deserves a nomination as one of the best. Let me know what other goals might qualify for the best Buck Shaw Quakes goals over the past three years and we will use the scientific formula of internet voting to decide the winning goal later this season.

This weekend also saw the real debut of the Epicenter Fan Zone as the Great Deluge made it rather difficult to navigate without either a canoe or an ark filled with animals. It was great seeing hundreds of people out there an hour or so before first kick enjoying the new team store, the gourmet food trucks (can you say Naanwich), the Bon Appétit Carvery (the Wondo Pulled Pork Sandwich is so messy it’s hard to handle like its namesake), a bounce in the bounce house, or a cool Quakes logo painted on your face. I loved seeing some especially competitive foosball games going on there as well as in the Corona Cove. Thanks to everyone who came early to catch the voice of the Earthquakes, John Shrader, and team ambassador, Kelly Gray, along with yours truly discuss the season in our pre-game show.  We will have a similar pre-game show each week. It would be great if folks could email me suggestions on topics to cover as well as possible guests. As always, my email is President@sjearthquakes.com.

The other big news this week is that we announced that the July 2 match against the New York Red Bulls will be played at Stanford Stadium. We are excited to take on our budding rivals from New York at Stanford Stadium over Fourth of July weekend. This is a great opportunity for the Quakes to reach out to the surrounding community by playing at one of the premier venues on the West Coast. We have a fireworks extravaganza on tap for all the fans after the match to celebrate our country's birthday. Get there early and tailgate for the game as well as check out the Epicenter Fan Zone, which is moving in full force north to Stanford for the weekend. It will be complete with gourmet food trucks and all the other bells and whistles. Stanford Stadium has a long and storied tradition of hosting association football matches dating back to the 1994 World Cup. The epic US-Brazil Round of 16 match in the 1994 World Cup was played at Stanford Stadium in front of a capacity crowd of nearly 85,000 fans on the Fourth of July some 17 years ago.
Anyone who can prove they were at that Round of 16 match will get a free ticket to our game against the Red Bulls! I am sure folks can find some old Polaroids of the World Cup game at Stanford. Those would be really cool to see and we will feature photos of the best memorabilia and mementos from the 1994 World Cup games at Stanford on our website and at the Epicenter before the game. Four pack and group tickets are on sale for the Stanford match and single game tickets will go on sale on April 19. Get your tickets now to lock down a truly memorable Fourth of July.

Finally, we have a big match this weekend against Toronto FC. We need the home crowd to motivate our team and get us a win this weekend. I hope to see everyone there at Buck Shaw this coming Saturday at 7:30 p.m.


Dave Kaval
San Jose Earthquakes


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