San Jose Stadium Delay a Concern

Effect on players and fans of new stadium not opening until halfway through 2014 season
by Luke James   |   Thursday, August 01, 2013

Match of the Bay - column on San Jose Earthquakes & the San Francisco Bay Area soccer scene

Let’s cut to the chase.

What is a soccer club?

It’s the performance of 11 men on a field with a ball. That’s all it’s ever been, and that’s all it will ever be. What it is not is celebrity owners, board room politics, stadiums, sponsorship deals or even individual superstar players.

The latest rug that’s been pulled out from under the San Jose Earthquakes team is that their new stadium won’t be ready until (maybe) halfway through the 2014 season.

What about the plans reviewed and test borings undertaken not revealing huge concrete bunkers and enormous steel pilings under the old FMC plant at the new stadium location? Something that big and no one managed to notice it was there? It’s like signing someone called Mesi and only noticing that his name is spelled with one “s” after the check has cleared the bank. For Wondowlowski’s sakes!

Effect on Players

But back to the important people here, the players. Here’s a team that wins last year’s Supporters’ Shield and started the season with last year’s MLS Coach of the Year Frank Yallop. Confidence in the locker room and on the field must have been high to say the least from these 11 men and their fellow squad players.

Then they lose key players though injury and suspension at important times, but they continue to play their hearts out even as the soccer gods deny them the early anticipated results. Despite their best efforts, results stubbornly refuse to go their way. People start to scratch their heads and pontificate about what needs to be done.

Less than halfway the season, their head coach of 5 years is fired. There’s no warning to the players, Wondo says no one saw it coming and they’re all shocked by the decision.

Still they go out there and play their hearts out, and still the results don’t come their way. But do they quit, do they start complaining, arguing among themselves, whining about it not being fair? No. They go out each week and give their all as a team, because that’s what they are, a team. And the San Jose Earthquakes soccer club IS the team.

Effect on fans

The fans are privileged to watch and their support is important and constantly acknowledged by the players. See how long exhausted players stay out with fans for autographs and photos grueling game after grueling game.

Let’s not forget that due to the bad behavior of a few idiotic fans, the 1906 Ultras were all banned from away games up until a couple of weeks ago.

Now they’re told that next year’s new stadium won’t be ready for the start of the 2014 season. OK, business as usual at quaint little old Buck Shaw, but with no idea who their head coach and coaching staff will be. Then halfway through the campaign switch to a new stadium that won’t become “home” for maybe a dozen games. It will be an away field with home support.

Match of the Bay - column on San Jose Earthquakes & the San Francisco Bay Area soccer scene

How would you feel if you laid out several thousand dollars for your season ticket only to be told your seat will still be on a Buck Shaw aluminum bleacher for at least half the year? Of course true fans would sit on an ants nest if necessary to follow and cheer their team. And San Jose Earthquakes has true fans.

So spare a thought for the incredible resilience in the face of constant chaos that these San Jose Earthquakes players show week after week. They train hard, they put their heart and soul on the line every second of every game. Whoever wins or loses this is a great team and I salute them.

NEXT UP: August 3 – San Jose Earthquakes vs. Chivas USA, Buck Shaw Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif. 10 p.m. EST, Univision Dep., CSNCA

Luke JAMES

Nationality:
England
College:
Bournville Arts Coll.
Club Domestic:
Manchester United
Club Foreign:
SJ Earthquakes
6'9" Englishman with great view of the game from anywhere in the stadium. Manchester United fan since 1967. San Francisco Bay Area resident and huge (sic) San Jose Earthquakes fan. Covers entire SF Bay area soccer scene for SN.
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