SAN JOSE, Calif. - The corner of Coleman Ave. and Newhall Drive has come a long way since the San Jose Earthquakes broke ground on the site of Avaya Stadium on Oct. 21, 2012.
Highlighted by a Guinness World Record groundbreaking ceremony, the Earthquakes’ opening match in 2015 and welcoming in Manchester United for an International Champions Cup contest, the 18,000-seat venue is set to add another notable milestone to its resume. On July 28, Avaya Stadium will host Arsenal FC and the 2016 MLS All-Star Game.
“I think it’s going to be great for the businesses in downtown San Jose,” Earthquakes president Dave Kaval said. “We’re going to have people from all over the world to see Arsenal play. The teams will do events themselves in San Pedro Square. It’s going to be a great economic driver for the region.”
Arsenal FC will make their first-ever trip to the Bay Area this summer and first trip to the United States since playing the New York Red Bulls on July 29, 2014. Prior to their 2014 New York Cup match at Red Bull Arena, the Gunners were last stateside in August 1989, when they defeated Independiente of Argentina 2-1 in Miami, Florida.
“The team is really excited to come out here,” said Alex Wicks, Director of and Partnership Development for Arsenal. “It will be the first time we’ve played on the West Coast of the United States.
“We’ve got a fantastic fan base across the U.S. and our supporters, particularly on the west coast, I know are excited to get the chance to watch the team play in their own backyard.”
This will be the second time the city of San Jose will host the MLS All-Star Game. In 2001, the Eastern and Western Conference All-Stars battled to a 6-6 draw in front of 23,512 fans at Spartan Stadium. Fifteen years later, the Bay Area is ready to welcome back the annual league celebration to the region’s new home for professional soccer.
“It’s just more soccer history in San Jose,” said Kaval. “Playing a club like Arsenal with such a storied history, playing the MLS All-Stars – our league is getting really good – I think the match up is going to be really exciting for fans.”
This was the second trip to Avaya Stadium for Major League Soccer’s Deputy commissioner Mark Abbott and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo after announcing that the South Bay will host the annual All-Star Game back on May 28, 2015.
“The event is not just the game – it’s a whole week of festivities around soccer, MLS, and everything we do with the Earthquakes, and that’s what I’m most proud of because that’s going to have a big impact here in the community.”