San Jose Announce New StadiumGuinness World Record groundbreaking event to be attempted
by Luke James | Wednesday, August 29, 2012
There was a carnival atmosphere at the announcement of the new San Jose Earthquakes stadium. The warm California evening air was filled with blue, black and white banners and balloons. The chanting of the Quakes Ultras fans all but drowned out the PA announcements. On the rostrum as the event went live on Comcast Sportsnet, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed was flanked by Club President Dave Kaval, and General Manager of Soccer Operations John Doyle.
To celebrate the landmark event, there will be an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for most people taking part in a groundbreaking ceremony, a figure that currently stands at 4,532. The ceremony is free to attend and will take place at noon on the same day as the club’s final home match of the MLS regular season, a 4 p.m. PST date with the LA Galaxy.
“Our organization strives to be the most inclusive and community-focused professional sports organization in the country,” said Dave Kaval. “Instead of a golden shovel groundbreaking, we wanted everyone in the local community to participate equally in this historic event.”
As well as seating for 18,000 fans, the stadium will also have luxury suites, patio club seats, training areas, office space and a clubhouse under the end stand for the Quakes Ultras fan club.
When the MLS began in 1996 none of the clubs had their own soccer-dedicated stadiums. The first such stadium didn’t arrive until 1999 with the construction of Columbus Crew Stadium. For the first 6 years of its existence MLS soccer games were played in NFL and college football stadiums. Early TV games (what few you could find) showed dazzling displays of geometry, as soccer field markings were hastily plastered over gridiron markings. When he joined the LA Galaxy in 2007, David Beckham was less than happy to find that he often had to play on Astroturf, with his runs down the wing measured in ten yard increments.
As of 2012 however, only 5 of the 19 teams in MLS (DC, New England, San Jose, Seattle & Vancouver) still don’t own or play in soccer specific stadiums. With the start of the 2014 season we’ll be able to strike San Jose off that list
I asked Dave Kaval if the stadium would be made available for other teams: “We’re going to have soccer events other than the Earthquakes. We’ll have Mexican soccer matches, we’ll have the US Men’s National Team, we’ll have the women’s team. The women’s team just won the (Olympic) gold medal and there’s really nowhere suitable for them to play in the Bay Area. It’s going to really usher in a renaissance of soccer interest … and we’re going to be the epicenter for that.”
The stadium’s impact on the local economy will be significant – hotels will be built, infrastructure expanded and improved, jobs will be created. Something else that’s good for the community is that the stadium is completely privately financed, from the ground up this showplace arena won’t cost taxpayers a dime.
Can You Dig It?
Yes you can. To guarantee a spot in the groundbreaking ceremony, fans should RSVP by registering at www.sjearthquakes.com/groundbreaking. There will be free parking (not a typo) and the first 6,000 registered arrivals will get a small, blue plastic shovel – a great souvenir! I know I’ll be hanging mine on the wall of my den. Oh, and don’t worry, no one’s expecting you to stay and complete the stadium, you only have to dig for 2 minutes to count toward the Guinness Record.