The construction of Avaya stadium started with 6,256 people with little blue shovels and a wrecking ball painted like a soccer ball dropped from a crane gantry on Sunday October 21, 2012. The groundbreaking set a Guinness Book of Records world record for the number of people digging at a groundbreaking. The previous record was 4,532 set in 2007 in Jaipur, India.
Today the San Jose Earthquakes new home was officially declared open with as big a pair of scissors as you’ve ever seen, wielded in the ribbon cutting ceremony by: Kevin Kennedy, CEO of Avaya, Andy Cunningham, Avaya CMO, Dave Kaval, San Jose Earthquakes president, and Sam Liccardo, Mayor of San Jose.
The wait is over. Last season’s dire record and all those games played in a creaky, old, college stadium, all those years of being a renter are over, today the San Jose Earthquakes became proud home owners.
On a blustery day with planes skimming over the freeway into San Jose International Airport dignitaries gathered on a platform to hand ownership of the stadium to the fans, players, and coaching and front office staffs. The patience and loyalty of the fans has finally been rewarded. Today San Jose Earthquakes fans have a new team, a new head coach, and the most innovative hi-tech stadium in MLS, set like a crowning jewel in the heart of Silicon Valley.
Quakes president Dave Kaval said : "We’ve never had our own home. We’ve always been renting from someone else. Not having your own home means there’s always uncertainty about how long you will be in the community. And now with a state of the art stadium that can fulfill the fan promise it really is going to be a bright future for us."
Avaya CEO Kevin Kennedy drew laughter from the crowd when he admitted that the decision to relocate Avaya to San Jose did have, along with several business reasons, something to do with not having to suffer any more New Jersey winters. He went on to say:
"The Silicon Valley area is a hub of innovation and inspiration and today what we’re trying to do with this partnership with the Earthquakes and the community is to promote a universal sport. You’ll see us bring not only great technology but a sense of engagement and advocacy to the community and the fans."
Finally San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said: "We’re here to commemorate a proud moment for San Jose, not just the opening of a $100m stadium, not just the creation of the most beautiful stadium in MLS, we’re here to commemorate a permanent home for soccer in Silicon Valley, and we’re here to commemorate the day San Jose officially became cool."
Tomorrow the stadium will be tested out with 10,000 fans. Once the season kicks off for real the capacity will be 18,000. On Saturday, this cool, brand new stadium will host the LA Galaxy for the San Jose Earthquakes final preseason game of 2015. Make no mistake though, as far as the players and fans are concerned this will be no try-out, it never is between LA and San Jose. The weather forecast for Saturday says risk of thunder, you’d have to say thunder is a fair bet, whatever the weather.