San Jose announce groundbreaking date for new stadium

The prospective San Jose stadium

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of San Jose Earthquakes

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Jose Earthquakes have set a date to begin construction on their new home.

Team president David Kaval announced Saturday prior to San Jose’s home match against Colorado that the groundbreaking ceremony for the club’s 18,000-seat, $60 million stadium will be held Sunday, Oct. 21.

“This is going to be a new era of Earthquakes soccer,” said Kaval, who was hired in 2010 in part to help see the stadium project across the finish line. “We are totally excited about it.”

The Quakes plan on moving into their privately-funded stadium at the start of the 2014 MLS season, meaning they’ll spend one more year at their current home -- venerable 10,500-seat Buck Shaw Stadium on the campus of Santa Clara University.

Building the as-yet-unnamed stadium will end an odyssey that began more than a decade ago. San Jose’s original MLS franchise moved to Houston in 2006 after ownership couldn’t work out a stadium deal.

“San Jose has long been the home of professional soccer,” San Jose mayor Chuck Reed said. “But professional soccer has never had a home to call its own in San Jose, and this is going to make it happen.”

The Quakes received final permission in February from the San Jose Planning Commission to build the stadium, which will be located across the street from Mineta San Jose International Airport. Although the club quickly demolished the former FMC Corporation manufacturing facility on the site, they held back on construction while finalizing financing plans and construction blueprints.

Kaval said the stadium financing has been fully subscribed, and that the club is in “active negotiations with two or three major, Fortune 100 companies” regarding naming rights.

“The ownership was saying, ‘We’re going to do it, we’re going to do it,’ but you guys and us, we were going, ‘Well, when? We need this stadium,'” Quakes general manager John Doyle told a throng of assembled San Jose supporters. “And the ownership has come forward and said, ‘We’re going to do this thing.’ I cannot wait until we have our own soccer-specific stadium.”

Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at sanjosequakes@gmail.com.