On Sunday afternoon, the San Jose Earthquakes opened up Avaya Stadium to officially introduce head coach Matias Almeyda and his staff to the team’s passionate fanbase. Despite the dark clouds in the forecast, the event pushed on, with roughly 2,000 fans making their way through the gates.
Ten Earthquakes players signed autographs for season pass holders and new loanee Cristian Espinoza even made a surprise appearance. But the headliner moment – an on-stage presentation of Almeyda and his technical staff – was the reason so many spent their Sunday at Avaya.
Telemundo 48’s Gabriel Sotelo served as emcee, asking fan-submitted questions and live translating for the audience. Sotelo and the coaching staff were situated comfortably under a giant tent.
Almost out of nowhere, rain started dumping down in buckets. Umbrellas began to pop-up left and right, although many in attendance were seemingly unprepared for the sudden wet weather.
Almeyda did something that nobody expected. He jumped off the stage, walked over to the stanchions dividing the fans from the security, and proceeded to answer questions in the pouring rain. He then gestured for his staff to join him.
After all questions had been answered, fans lined the width of the field and Almeyda slowly made his way down the line without missing a single autograph or photo request. It rained the entire time.
Matias Almeyda has preached equality since arriving in San Jose. During his press conference last October, he suggested everyone at the club should be treated the same, whether they sell tickets, clean bathrooms, organize team flights, or score game-winning goals in rivalry matches.
Sunday’s action showed he not only knows how to talk the talk but can walk the walk as well. The Quakes are most certainly in good hands moving forward.