It has been a super eventful offseason for the San Jose Earthquakes. New stadium, new coach, new player facilities, new season ticket holders and a new outlook. There is an air of excitement and energy that permeates the club. Everyone is aware of the responsibility that comes with christening our new home – Avaya Stadium – and competing at the highest level on the pitch.
The League is experiencing a renaissance with top tier player signings like Steven Gerrard, Kaka, Jozy Altidore, and David Villa. MLS has never been more relevant internationally and the League is becoming a more powerful force in the transfer market. The expansion clubs are entering the League looking to win out of the gate. The Western Conference has been bolstered with historically competitive Houston and Kansas City coming west.
In the backdrop of this new League order, we set forth this offseason to develop a new strategy on the technical side that will ensure the Quakes can compete for more Supporters’ Shields and MLS Cups each season. The first step was to bring in a world-class head coach. We are thrilled to be opening Avaya Stadium with Dominic Kinnear patrolling the sidelines. Dominic’s proven success with multiple MLS Cup championships, ability to identify and develop talent and homegrown Bay Area roots are a perfect combination. Dominic has attracted a world-class assistant coaching staff with Steve Ralston and Tim Hanley coming over from Houston and Ian Russell carrying over from the 2014 Quakes. In a highly competitive League, an experienced coaching staff can make the difference in motivating players and getting the most out of the club over the long MLS season.
The second step was an increased investment in Designated Players. We set out to open Avaya Stadium with three designated players that would elevate our total player spend into the top half of the League. This level of investment has become a must in order to compete at the highest level. Dominic Kinnear and John Doyle spent the off season traveling the globe looking at players in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Portugal, England, France and Switzerland. The goal was to sign a fast forward to complement Chris Wondolowski up top and give our creative midfielder, Matias Perez Garcia, another creative player to play off of. We were happy to announce this week the signing of 25-year old Swiss International Innocent Emeghara. Innocent signed the most lucrative contract we have ever had for a player in club history.
One thing to note about the player signing is how important the new stadium, locker room and training facility is to obtaining these types of players. In the past, we had challenges to convince top tier international players to play in San Jose with our sub par facilities. We are now in a new era with a shiny new stadium, a world-class community and a respected coaching staff. San Jose is becoming a real option for international players and we will continue to be active in the transfer windows to elevate the quality of the club.
The other big news this offseason is of course Avaya Stadium. In the coming weeks, I will be highlighting a new aspect of the venue each week in a Kaval’s Kickoff. This will include the parking & traffic plan, pre game Epicenter, food options with Ovations & Gourmet food trucks, and signature features like the Supporters’ area and the largest exterior bar in North America.
We are less than a month away from the first event at Avaya Stadium, the exhibition match against the LA Galaxy, on Saturday February 28th. This is a special event with first dibs on tickets for season ticket holders with limited attendance of 10,000. Tickets are 50 percent off for season ticket holders as another great perk for being a season ticket holder.
As always, please feel free to email me at President@sjearthquakes.com, via twitter @QuakesPrez, or by scheduling time at my weekly office hours by emailing Miguel Duarte (email@example.com).