San Jose Earthquakes pushing for USMNT return to Bay Area, perhaps as soon as this year

Fireworks above Stanford Stadium, June 29, 2013

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USA Today Sports

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Francisco Bay Area hasn’t hosted a US men’s national team game in seven years, but the San Jose Earthquakes hope the completion of their permanent home will change that.

Speaking with reporters at the Quakes’ rebrand and 40th anniversary celebration on Thursday night, team president Dave Kaval revealed that he has had “numerous conversations” with U.S. Soccer over potentially scheduling a USMNT game at the Earthquakes’ new 18,000-seat stadium, which is scheduled to be completed at the tail end of calendar 2014.

“I think it could be a venue that hosts a lot of events,” Kaval said, “and not only for the men, but for the women as well.”

The USMNT hasn’t appeared in the nation’s sixth-biggest market since 2007, when they faced China in a pre-Gold Cup friendly at Spartan Stadium. The USWNT, however, did play a friendly against New Zealand at San Francisco’s now tenant-less Candlestick Park last October.

In addition to their own home stadium, the Earthquakes will also appear in the first official event at nearby Levi’s Stadium – the 68,500-capacity new home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers – when they face the Seattle Sounders there on August 2.

Kaval added that the club would support and could potentially promote a men’s national team there, or any venue in the Bay Area. The Quakes have also hosted midsummer games the past three seasons at 50,000-seat Stanford Stadium, and have played games previously at San Francisco's AT&T Park and Oakland's O.co Coliseum.

“What I’ve pushed to [U.S. Soccer] is that we need [a game] in the market, not necessarily that we need to be in our stadium,” he said. “As long as it’s in our market, I think it promotes soccer here, and we’ve been very, very vocal about that. And I think hopefully, even this year maybe, there might be a game somewhere.”

U.S. Soccer did not immediately respond to a request for comment from MLSsoccer.com.

Jonah Freedman is the managing editor of MLSsoccer.com.