When the San Jose Earthquakes returned to MLS in 2008, it was with an understanding that the organization would build a new soccer-specific stadium. But this being California, it was not as simple a process as anyone hoped. The Quakes had to lobby city officials, identify an appropriate site, solicit bids from design firms, and determine a mechanism to pay for it all.
But slowly, step by step, the plan took form and was executed. Environmental Impact Reports were filed, negotiations with neighbors that lived in close proximity to the stadium site were conducted, allies on the City of San Jose city council were cultivated -- all leading to a Planning Commission meeting on February 22, 2012 that proved the last civic hurdle to the new stadium project. The last remaining appeal against the project was denied by the commission, and it was full steam ahead for the Earthquakes.
And now, nearly three years on from that milestone meeting, the 18,000-seat facility, christened Avaya Stadium in a naming rights deal that will last for the next decade, is set to open its doors to the public and host a soccer match for the very first time.
On February 28, the Quakes will host a preseason game against California Clasico rivals the LA Galaxy in a soft opening for the stadium. Attendance will be limited to 10,000 -- of which nearly all will come from the 11,000 season ticket holder pool that the organization boasts heading into the 2015 MLS regular season -- so that facility operators can work out the kinks in hosting an event at untested Avaya Stadium.
The official debut will occur on March 22 when the Earthquakes play the Chicago Fire in their home season opener. Already sold-out, the game will also be a homecoming for former head coach Frank Yallop. The longtime leader of San Jose and coach for the club's two MLS Cup Championships faced the Quakes last summer when he and the Fire visited Buck Shaw Stadium and were dismantled 5-1.
From dream to reality, the construction of Avaya Stadium tested the patience of everyone involved, but each one of them can't say enough good things about the final product. And now EarthCam, which has documented the entire construction process since May 2013, has released a time-lapse video of the rise of the gleaming new epicenter for San Jose soccer. More than seven years of planning and execution -- all in 90 seconds.