Earthquakes set to break ground on latest MLS stadium

By FRANCO PANIZO

San Jose Earthquakes fans have had lots to cheer about this season. From watching Chris Wondolowski threaten to break the all-time MLS record for goals in a campaign to all the late-game heroics the team has mustered, it has been a dream year thus far for Earthquakes faithful.

Sunday will give them perhaps the biggest reason to celebrate yet.

The Earthquakes are set to break ground on their soccer-specific stadium on Sunday morning, effectively ending what has been a long pursuit for a permanent home that caters to the soccer experience. The 18,000-seat stadium is expected to be completed in 2014 and there is a good buzz about it in the northern California city, one that could grow even further if San Jose clinches the Supporters Shield this weekend.

In fact, there is such a buzz about Sunday’s event that the Earthquakes are hopeful of breaking the Guinness World Record for most people to participate in a groundbreaking ceremony. The current record is 4,532 and the club is still encouraging fans to bring their own shovels and come out to the event (an online registration which included a digging spot and commemorative shovel has already been closed).

While breaking the world record would be another accomplishment for the Earthquakes in what has so far proven to be a successful 2012, the real focus on Sunday should and likely will be the stadium groundbreaking itself. After years of playing in tiny Buck Shaw Stadium, the Earthquakes will finally be on the verge of joining most of the other MLS teams in having their own soccer-specific home, one that will further enhance the fan experience and draw added revenue from concessions, parking, etc.

Yes, the Earthquakes and their fans may already be in full party mode by the time of the ceremony if the club claims the Supporters Shield on Saturday. But there still should be plenty to celebrate when he first shovel hits the ground.

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What do you think of San Jose’s upcoming groundbreaking ceremony? Do you see them breaking the Guinness World Record? Planning on attending?

Share your thoughts below.

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57 Responses to Earthquakes set to break ground on latest MLS stadium

  1. cultural zeitgeist says:

    If all goes well it should be done early 2014. If things are delayed perhaps it’ll be ready just in time for the 2014 season opener.

  2. Swaggin Wagon says:

    Such a Genius PR Idea!

  3. Old School says:

    Well deserved.

    Every Quake match I’ve caught the last few years they’ve played, in what looks like a high school stadium, has been impressive and passionate.

    Glad to see it!

  4. Travis says:

    18k is to low of a capacity, i know teams want to fill their stadiums but get it up into more like 25k.

    • THomas says:

      What? That’s about the average attendance in the league. They currently play in the smallest stadium. So it’s not like they’re low-balling it. This will be a substantial upgrade. And by the look of it, they can expand that open end to include seats if they should ever need to.

    • BT14 says:

      In order to address noise concerns and get the permit approved, the stadium has a horseshoe design for 18K, there’s an option to expand the stadium and close it off to bring it to 22K later on.

    • Da trufth says:

      San Jose city council only approved 18 k for that area

    • PD says:

      Many of the new MLS-specific stadiums have been built with future expansion construction in mind (Philly and Houston immediately come to mind).

      Let the Quakes get a few sell-out seasons under their belts and you’ll see some new sections added soon enough.

      • ChrisB says:

        Looks to me based on the graphic that it would be easily added on to…if attendance continues to rise over the next decade then they could “close” off the other end of the stadium and add a lot more seats.

      • divers suck says:

        In the same ilk as Crew Stadium and Toyota Park (amongst others?), this (SSS) stadium has an open end for a stage to cater for the lucrative (and convenient) concert venue option, among others. Which likely would match, or exceed, the soccer gates and revenue. So if the term Soccer Specific Stadium makes it sound all MLS and soccer cool, than so be it. But it really is a loosely based term.

        • abc says:

          Not true, part of getting past all the annoying neighborhood NIMBYs was agreeing NOT to host concerts. There will be no stage. This is not comparable to those other stadiums that host concert events. It IS literally a soccer specific stadium. This U shaped design is so the stadium capacity can easily be expanded if necessary.

    • Travis says:

      as long as there is the ability to add more in the future that is fine but confining yourself to 18k permanently is not a great idea.

  5. Iggy says:

    Looks nice, save the open end. Why not even some cheap bleachers there just to close it out. I would guess the stadium is pretty easily expandable.

  6. Da trufth says:

    What a joke of a stadium !!! Its a bunch of high school bleachers with a roof!

    CHEAP MLS owners are ruining this league. Here’s an idea. How many fortune 500 tech companies are in the area ???? Why not partner with one of them and build something like Red Bull Arena or Livestrong park ?

    Use the current land to build an academy and go fork out $300 million to put a World class stadium in the heart of downtown SJ. That means if you have to flatten some real estate to do it, then do it!

    • Old School says:

      The fact that we have some knucklehead complaining about an 18k seater SSS being built for San Jose, a city that already lost a team for this very topic, is both a great statement for the expectations some of our fans in our growing league have and conversely an indictment on how moronic some of “us” are.

    • bigprof says:

      dude, climb out from under that rock. its the freaking owner of the A’s. of course, he’s gonna lowball on every aspect of a team’s finances. this guy takes “cheap owner” to new heights

    • WK says:

      Ah, you kids. Still in elementary school when our league started, you must have no notion of history- albeit MLS’ very short one. If it weren’t for the likes of Anschultz & Hunt agreeing to lose untold millions for years, we wouldn’t have a league. And now that new owners are stepping up to buy teams (and pay franchise fees) and build stadiums because it finally makes good business sense, you have the nerve to complain because it’s not big or fancy enough? What do you thin the early grounds of association football clubs looked like, even 20-30 years on? Stay in school kid, and read your history.

  7. PD says:

    Dear DC United and NE Revolution ownership.

    Please get off your bums, ya bums. You just gotta make this happen for two clubs that deserve a lot more than they’ve been getting from y’all lately.

    signed,

    PD “sad to be” East Coast

  8. el paso tx wants NASL says:

    That looks cheap- union hold back on their design, rapids stadium looks like an academy stadium. In reality all these teams union, HDC, rsl, fc dallas, chicago have the same stadium design and san jose just looks like that with a roof cover. So sad there is only 3 sss that are at the soccer world level in the US( not counting the NFL stadiums), red bull arena ,livestrong park, and HDC but HDC looks like an old school soccer stadium.

    • Mark F says:

      You realize that the notion of soccer-specific stadiums was a joke when the league started. Once SJ is built, 16 of the 19 clubs will play in their own, right-sized homes. That’s incredible. I’m sorry the world isn’t the way you like it, but damn, have a little perspective.

    • whoop-whoop says:

      Our country is absolutely littered with world class stadiums that work beautifully for big time max capacity events like WC etc. The soccer specific stadiums we see going up are pretty damn nice for what they are intended and designed for…. nice pitch, personal, fan friendly experience close to the action stadiums well fit for day in day out league matches. MLS and it’s infrastructure have come a loooong way in a short time. Congrats SJ and MLS.

    • betamale says:

      I think this comment is a testament to how far we’ve come in such a short time. Just a few years back everyone was bitching that we didn’t have enough SSS’s and now we’re bitching that all of our SSS’s aren’t the top in the world.

      I call that progress.

      • Ceez says:

        As much as I wanted to shoot down “el paso tx wants NASL” ‘s comment, you make a very interesting point. So, I’m gonna hold my tongue and just say I agree with you. Cheers.

    • john.q says:

      agreed. the design is butt ugly.

  9. el paso tx wants NASL says:

    By the way, soccer fans like me are starving for modern SSS like red bull arena and livestrong park but we get stuck with division 2 soccer stadiums. If you put a red bull arena in downtown denver or chicago or a livestrong park in las vegas, you would get another kc situation. Mls needs real soccer stadiums beside fans instead of high school stadiums. For example the new york cosmos stadium is going to be the best stadium for soccer in the US and then you have san jose building a toy. That’s very funny.

  10. Charles says:

    Roth ( Sounders ) said that he wouldn’t build a stadium below 35k and I agree with him. These stadiums are sooo short sighted. 18k ? The median team already is over that. Way to set the sights high.

    I realize cost is an issue, and these stadiums are expandable, but they should be looking at 20k minimum and as large as they can do. Not everyone can have the Sounders ‘best stadium in soccer’ situation, but it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get closer.

    • Kejsare says:

      So, Roth, why would anyone build a stadium that is twice the size of MLS’ average attendance? Doesn’t this sound like MLS in 1996?

      Roth spoke nothing about political realities, financial constraints, and reliability of ROI.

    • Theemurf says:

      Roth’s comments were in regard to the NY2 stadium, not any SSS stadium in MLS. 18k is probably the right size to start in SJ.

  11. GSScasual says:

    I hope they start with that gigantic bucket of chicken. (bottom left)

  12. Dave says:

    Hopefully the club gets a rebrand with the new stadium just like SKC did. Earthquakes? That logo? Time for a fresh start.

    • Old School says:

      I would agree with that.

      Change the name AND the colors, if you ask me.

      • SFTony says:

        Yeah, the name has only been around for 40 years and they only wore the colors for the past 12 including during 2 Cup wins.

        You’re right, let make it an uphill climb to fill the expanded capacity.

  13. el paso tx wants NASL says:

    Thats a good point- what about san jose bay and just keep the earthquakes as a nickname- by the way their logo is old and ugly- mls should learn from mlb and nfl logos-

    • dan says:

      thats pretty dumb comment. Eartquakes logo sucks but tons of MLS teams have very nice logos. NFL logos on a whole are just too cartooney and would look incredible silly on a soccer jersey. MLB are classic however. MLS should take a note from every other freaking soccer league in the world, no the nfl

  14. dan says:

    They forgot to finish designing the stadium…

  15. Iggy says:

    Following the sketches literally, I wonder who the player is who will get just half of their likeness pictured on the side.

  16. beachbum says:

    Galaxy fan here, and this is AWESOME!

    on the seating capacity, seems fine to me. If that place is packed and the ticket becomes must have they can always raise the prices and thus make up some of the difference in having fewer seats. Also they can still use Stanford Stadium I’m guessing which holds 50K and is a great facility that was positively electric earlier this year when the Galaxy visited for thet 4-3 epic

    • DCLee says:

      United fan her and this GREAT! It is amazing how fast and far the league has come. To think the league is only 17 years old and had 3-4 owners owning multiple teams with 0 SSS and only hope that the league would survive in the big NFL venues to nowadays having 16 of 19 teams with SSS(an positive rumblings in DC and NE) plus all the great rivalries and vibes when you get a chance to see all these new teams and places along with the amazing USMNT atmospheres in Columbus and KC! What an amazing time to be a soccer supporter in the states.

      I just got done visiting Portland for DCs match and it was one of the best sporting events I’ve ever attended. The game was ok but the atmosphere in Portland was fantastic! Congrats to the Quakes and all of MLS at raising the level of the games in this country.

      • DCLee says:

        Jeld-Wen is a fantastic stadium too. It is the Wrigley field and Fenway park of soccer IMHO.

        • Old School says:

          Not a bad analogy. Stretching a bit but I see where you’re going.

          • DCLee says:

            Thanks. Have you been to JW? It definitely puts out that vibe. Old stadium downtown with a neighborhood feel that seats 20k. Sold out with an involved crowd with bars and restaurants nearby. Wrigley and Fenway are not huge stadiums so all 3 give that intimate feel.

  17. Mike says:

    Great! A new place for the Quakes to play that will be half empty!

  18. fred says:

    I don’t think they need to rebrand. The name has history, but they to need to update their logo and uniform design. Maybe a primary & secondary logo. Or plainly San Jose FC – nickname earthquakes.

  19. Up 1 says:

    Build a stadium with 25k and u have the #rbny issue … OHHHHHHHHHHH

    • Old School says:

      RBNY Issue = limitless excuses why fans can’t attend?

      -2nd highest payroll in MLS
      -2nd best SSS in our country (only behind LSP in KC)
      -One of the most prolific names of this generation (No, I’m not referring to Rafa)

      I think Quake fans will show up, more than they make excuses. If San Jose had the above criteria, they’d be sold out weekly and that’s coming form a neutral.

  20. slowleftarm says:

    Congrats Earthquakes supporters. Don’t understand the troll/hater element in the comments. Stuff like this is good for soccer in our country.

  21. Good Jeremy says:

    It looks great, I’m happy for San Jose.

    For those who hate it, there are plenty of European teams who would love to get a new 18K seat stadium. If it sells out consistently I have no doubt they’ll be able to expand. It’s a soccer team in a non-sports town so I’m not sure why people expect 25K plus. Stanford has six home games a year and has been around 100 years and only has a 50K stadium.

  22. Billybob says:

    Will be lucky if this is done by mid 2014. They are still in the design phase and haven’t even submitted for permits yet. More like 2015.

  23. chris_thebassplayer says:

    Long overdue, many in the local soccer community have been waiting for a place to call home since 1974. Spartan stadium had a great vibe with the fans so close to the field, but still was a bit of a dump. We lost Dom and our stellar team when the owners couldn’t resolve a deal for a stadium. or upgrade their deal at Spartan. Plenty of blame to spread around between city officials, as well as a certain university president. We were very lucky to get another shot at a team and very fortunate to have Yallop return. Slogged through some truly dreadful seasons with cast-offs and semi-pro players…long road back to good football. I’m going to the ground breaking on Sunday, still feels like a dream sequence…

  24. Matt says:

    18,000 is puny. Why not 20 or 22,000. Dream big.