It has been a super productive off season for the San Jose Earthquakes. Both on and off the pitch, we have made significant progress in elevating the Quakes to the forefront of American soccer and Bay Area professional sports.
In January, we announced a groundbreaking partnership with Sutter Health to become the Quakes first jersey partner in the Avaya Stadium era. Beyond the financial commitment which will provide more flexibility on player and infrastructure investment, the partnership brings together two organizations with similar community first values. This will have a lasting impact on the residents of Northern California through our joint efforts to combat childhood obesity, raise awareness on health and wellness issues, and promote the health lifestyle that our players embody at the Quakes.
The securing of the jersey partnership completes the last piece of the commercial and business plan when we built the roadmap to launch a new Quakes Stadium in 2010. It is a credit to our strong soccer community that we sit here in 2016 with two world class cornerstone partners in Avaya and Sutter Health, more than 13,000 Season Ticket Holders, and a fan experience at Avaya Stadium that rivals any in the world. In this environment, it is easy to get complacent and rest on your laurels. Instead, we are focused on elevating our brand, making the next level infrastructure investments required to build a world class club, and continuing our tradition of really big time soccer events that the Bay Area is known for.
- City of San Jose Exploring Partnership with San Jose Earthquakes and Guadalupe River Park Conservancy on New Soccer Fields Project
One of the most exciting off season announcements was the development of a $37M Academy complex in San Jose as part of the Guadalupe River Park and Gardens. This public/private partnership will create seven soccer fields (four artificial turf, three grass), an 15,000 square foot Academy center with locker rooms, multipurpose rooms, and offices for Academy coaches and staff, a concessions and merchandise building, and an integrated landscape architectural plan that will mesh the fields into the Guadalupe Park creating a new amenity for San Jose.
This is a game-changing infrastructure investment for our club. It will propel our Academy which has already seen great progress under the leadership of Technical Director Chris Leitch into the forefront of youth development. Training at the Academy center will help create world class American soccer players for the Quakes first team and also to support the efforts of the US Men’s National Team to win the World Cup. It will also be a great place for kids of all socioeconomic backgrounds to fall in love with the beautiful game and create lasting friendships and camaraderie on the pitch.
Another great development this off season was the announcement that Arsenal FC are to come here to play the MLS All Stars at the AT&T 2016 MLS All Star Game. This event will be massive and will build on the Bay Area's rich history of international soccer matches that include the Men’s and Women’s World Cup, the US-Soviet Union Friendship match in 1991, and the visits of world class club teams like Manchester United, Barcelona, and Boca Juniors. Arsenal has only played in the United States twice and the Gunners have never played on the west coast. They have a great group of supporters and the match will be the event of the summer. MLS and the Quakes will establish an entire week of activities in downtown San Jose that will create a mini-Super Bowl City for soccer fans to gather to meet players, listen to concerts, and celebrate the soccer lifestyle. I cannot wait to kick off the events in late July.