The San Jose Earthquakes announced this week they are making big changes to the supporters section at Avaya Stadium for the 2018 season.
The team revealed the supporters section will move to field level in the standing-only section known as the Supporters Terrace behind the south goal. The San Jose Ultras' previous sections, 117 and 118, will now be reserved seating sections available for purchase by the general public.
The changes were initiated by the supporters.
"For us, the number one priority is to be able to provide our team with the best support possible, while putting a lot of pressure on the opposition,” said Dan Margarit, leader and founder of the San Jose Ultras in a statement. “At the end of the last season, we approached the new leadership of our Front Office and suggested that they revisit the idea of building a better supporter section behind the goal. They were very receptive to our ideas and suggestions. A few months later, they showed us the plans for a new section, which we believe will be a better place for us. We would like to welcome all Quakes fans who are willing to stand and chant for 90-plus minutes to join us and help us create that atmosphere that any visiting team hates to play in. We are looking forward to spending our 15th year of supporting the Quakes in the new section and bringing back many of the elements that turned Buck Shaw Stadium into a fortress. "
Earthquakes COO Jared Shawlee explained on Twitter that the changes for the new supporters section will be ongoing this year:
The physical space of the Supporters Section will also evolve throughout the 2018 season. In March, it will be consistent with past years. Beginning April 14th, a larger bleacher unit will be erected, creating a steeper rake. Long term planning has begun for a permanent stand. https://t.co/juSCuTOCSx— Jared Shawlee (@JaredShawlee) February 15, 2018
“We are continuing to strengthen the relationship between the front office and the Ultras by being receptive to the group’s needs,” said Shawlee in a team statement. “We truly believe that moving the Ultras to field level will allow them to feel a stronger connection to the players they are supporting and further enhance the overall stadium atmosphere for all of our fans.”
The Earthquakes open the 2018 MLS regular season on March 3 at Avaya Stadium against Minnesota United FC (10:30 pm ET | MLS Live).