[MLS SPOTLIGHT]Sandwiched between Saturday's results that gave the San Jose Earthquakes the 2012 Supporters' Shield and Sunday's 2-2 tie with the Los Angeles Galaxy that featured Chris Wondolowski's 26th goal of the season, the Quakes organized a yard party Sunday morning.
They broke a Guinness world record for the largest groundbreaking, drawing 6,256 fans, who were handed shovels and dug for two minutes for the ceremonial start of construction on the Quakes' soccer stadium that will seat 18,000 fans and open in 2014.
Not a bad weekend for a town where pro soccer was once given up for dead.
|October 21, 2012|
"Lots of people wondered whether we'd be back," admitted MLS Commissioner Don Garber, who called the project among the most complicated of the MLS soccer stadiums he's been involved in.
Northern California stadium projects have a long history of dragging out or not getting off the ground at all.
The Quakes owners also own the baseball Oakland A's, who have sought to move, first to Fremont and more recently to San Jose, but have gotten nowhere.
"These things are difficult, but they eventually get done," Garber said.
One of the keys to the Quakes II has been club president David Kaval, who came to the Quakes from the independent Golden Baseball League, where he had been CEO.
Garber called Kaval a game-changer: "He is a bundle of energy, creative and digital."
The new stadium is located on Coleman Avenue across from Mineta San Jose International Airport. The stadium will cost an estimated $60 million stadium and be ready for the 2014 season.
In the meantime, the Quakes will continue to play at Buck Stadium on the campus of Santa Clara University. It seats only 10,525 fans.
Because of its small size, MLS is looking to play MLS Cup 2012 in another stadium in the Bay Area if the Quakes reach the final.
This is the first season MLS Cup will be hosted by the higher seed instead of being played at a predetermined site. It will mean that league meetings and events around the final will have to be curtailed.
"It's all about the fans having a special moment," Garber said of the final being hosted by one of the finalists. "That's more important than other ancillary things we were able to achieve."