It's been a long road, but the San Jose Earthquakes have finally found their home.
When the Quakes step on the field at Avaya Stadium against the Chicago Fire on Sunday, it will be in a stadium built specifically for them. Earthquakes players, coaches, staffers and fans will finally have a place to call home.
Since their inception, the 'Quakes have been somewhat nomadic around the Bay Area, playing in various stadiums across the region.
They have played MLS home games in seven different stadiums (two of which they will use for a single game in 2015) and used 10 overall, ranging from huge football stadiums to smaller venues for their US Open Cup games. Here's a look at San Jose's history in each:
Spartan Stadium - The primary stadium for San Jose State University, the Earthquakes played the first MLS game here in 1996 (as the Clash) and called it home until moving to Houston after the 2005 season. Its narrow width left little room on either sideline, but the stadium hosted some of the league's best teams and one of its most memorable moments. That came when San Jose rallied from a 4-0 aggregate deficit in the final 45 minutes of a Western Conference semifinals series to beat rivals LA Galaxy 5-4 in extra time en route to the 2003 MLS Cup title.
MLS Record: 80-41-28 (.631)
Buck Shaw Stadium
- A smaller venue on the campus of Santa Clara University, it served as the primary home of the 'Quakes from 2008-14. As the club enjoyed on-field success, reaching the playoffs in 2010 and winning the Supporters' Shield in 2012, fans began to flock to Buck Shaw and created a raucous atmosphere while regularly meeting the stadium's 10,500-seat capacity from 2012-14. Also the scene of one of
's finest MLS moments, playing 45 minutes in goal against San Jose and making three saves in a 0-0 tie.
MLS Record: 124-160-86 (.451)
Candlestick Park - Best known as the site of the 1989, earthquake-interrupted baseball World Series and The Catch in the Jan. 1982 NFL playoffs, 'The Stick' also hosted a single Earthquakes game in MLS play, a 3-0 loss to the Columbus Crew in 2009. San Jose also played two friendlies there, against Mexican powerhouse Club America in 2002 as well the final sporting event at Candlestick Park in 2014 against Atlético Madrid.
MLS Record: 0-1
AT&T Park - How could we possibly forget the Quakes' trip to the San Francisco Giants' home stadium back in 2012? San Jose fell 1-0 to the Houston Dynamo on that afternoon in front of more than 21,000, despite a 24-8 shot advantage..
MLS Record: 0-1
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum - For occasional big games, including those against rivals LA Galaxy in the summer of 2008 and 2009, San Jose used the home of the Oakland Raiders and Athletics (currently known as O.co Coliseum) as their home field, drawing almost 100,000 combined fans in the 2008-09 editions of the California Clasico.
MLS Record: 1-2-1 (.375)
- The home of Stanford football, the 'Quakes have played single games here sporadically over the years, including one per season from 2012-14 in what has become a can't-miss event against the LA Galaxy. Drawing more than 50,000 fans each time, the Earthquakes built their Goonies legend partly on games like crazy 4-3 and 3-2 wins in
, respectively. The 2015 edition is set for June 27.
MLS Record: 4-3-1 (.563)
Levi's Stadium - The new home of the San Francisco 49ers, the Earthquakes were actually the stadium's first home team. They opened this building with a 1-0 win over Seattle on Aug. 2, 2014 and will play there again this year on May 24 against Orlando City.
MLS Record: 1-0
Cagan Stadium - Stanford University soccer calls this venue home, and so did the 'Quakes for two US Open Cup games – both wins – in 2012.
Negoesco Stadium - The home to University of San Francisco soccer, the Earthquakes hosted the LA Galaxy here in a US Open Cup quarterfinal in 2001. More than 1,800 fans saw a cult classic, with the Galaxy prevailing 10-9 in an epic shootout, converting all 10 of their attempts before San Jose finally missed. LA went on to win the title with a pair of sudden-death extra-time wins.
Starting Sunday, instead of the tight sidelines of Spartan Stadium or the small capacity of Buck Shaw Stadium, both on college campuses, the Earthquakes – and their fans – will be able to spread out and enjoy Avaya Stadium, where they expect to create their most memorable moments in the years to come.