SNAP SHOTS: With the new-stadium smell quickly wearing off, can a new General Manager, new signings, & a new jersey spark a new era of soccer in San Jose?
Since I was born, I had a dream...
After multiple seasons in which the San Jose Earthquakes failed to make playoffs—or even have a winning record—fans still chant the incantation we which to see appear on every pitch, at every match.
My heart is Black and Blue...
The magic may take on many forms: Tommy Time, a Bouncy House, Wondo Extended Double-Digit Scoring Run, Krazy George, a Front Office change, a ManneQuin challenge, or THE CHIP*
(*Still the greatest MLS goal of all time, especially when recognizing Quincy collecting the ball deepish in the Quakes’ half, the explosive run forward, muscling off multiple defenders, & the extreme distance & angle to arc it in... whoa.)
But Quincy was soon injured and out for the season, and the Quakes just couldn’t muster up enough at the end to Fosbury Flop ourselves over the red playoff Limbo line.
With GM Doyle gone, space was created for Quakes fans to actually HOPE the franchise could move in a positive direction. And then...
After the Drought, A Flood of New Signings
With apologies to Rick Springfield, all Quakes fans are now Jesse’s Girl, Guy, Kid, and whatever Q is. The hiring of Jesse Fioranelli has infused Quakes fans with a new hope—not only for better, quality signings but also a top-to-bottom, proactive vision that included fans, community, front office, academy, and first team players.
Jesse seems to bring to San Jose almost a perfect blend of European and Euro-American, agent and analytics, community and club. So far Quakes fans are impressed with his open discussions on process, players, and playing styles, as well as his sincerity and respect for fans: not only accessible in the hallways of Avaya (and admits to read CenterLineSoccer), he also has held more fan Town Halls in the last month than Doyle did in 9 years. After the Quakes win over Sacramento, Jesse not only gave an interview with “Voice of the Quakes” Ted Ramey, but also took tough questions from the fans, and stayed to meet and talk with each until the last fan left.
This relationship matters.
Add on to that some quality signings San Jose made at the end of the window—Cummings, Ureña, Hoesan, Jungwirth, and Hyka—plus a draft surprise landing 19-year-old UCLA über-playmaker Jackson Yueill and signing Homegrown badass wingback Nick Lima, and Quakes fans are now nodding over their pints in quiet, apprehensive approval.
And there’s still a DP slot open for the summer!
(Quakes fans’ fantasies go wild!)
LOBINA BAR TALK
As the Longest Outdoor Bar in North America, I’m honored to host all passionate fans and serve you some quality suds while we enjoy our Quakes games. My position, in the time-honored barkeep tradition, also allows me to listen, overhear, act as sounding board, pass on, and enjoy all comments, quips, curses, and questions Quakes fans share, discuss, debate, curse, and exclaim in excitement over the course of a game.
All shared here is to celebrate Quakes community—LOBINA is not on anyone’s payroll, and has no input into the beer selection, prices, nor service beyond an ideal to which every fan should hold their club. Think of LOBINA as the space—both at Avaya and online—where we can meet and celebrate everything San Jose Earthquakes.
To foster the dialogue and encourage fan engagement, my social media minions will be buzzing around Avaya and the intertubes to find out what fans really think and feel as the season rocks along:
No need to go on camera: many Quakes fans prefer to share thoughts more casually. Gina, whom everyone at Avaya has heard screaming her appreciation for her fave GK Bingham (and on the video above), stated:
Last year we didn’t kick all of the ass I’d liked for us to kick, but there were some ass-kicking moments. But we have a lot of new boys out there on the pitch, and I want to see what they can do... how they can jibe with the players we know and love.
Not a lot of new signings excite me, but there’s the prospect of some hidden talent, a spark that we won’t be able to see until they all start playing together—a dynamic that we couldn’t have predicted. So I hope to see that dynamic between the players develop.
2012 was equal parts luck and dynamic, which is what I hope we get this season. How will the the Quakes finish? Don’t give a shit: first in the League or first in the West, 10th or 20th or last—I don’t care: I’ll be here every game.
Sitting Good, Standing & Singing Best!
Reminder that not only are General Admission tix the least expensive at Avaya, they also provide some of the best sightlines and greatest viewing experiences, especially in the Ultras Section:
Avaya is NOTHING without the supporter groups—Ultras, Imperio Sismico, Faultliners, Casbah. All are now gone except Ultras, and when the situation with the FO resulted in the Ultras walking out of a match, the stadium was SILENT.
Support your Supporters Groups!
[Disclaimer: Nowhere near a real match report]
Drink of the Match: Yes.
Lineups: Yes, for both teams (except Wondo, out on a tender ankle).
Never too early to start the Black & Blue Hope Train:
Never too early to start the Bernárdez Drinking Game:
Big Vic motivation poster:
Lima doing great, until Jeff pulls Nick’s pants down:
With the #BernardezDrinkingGame once again in full swing, Quakes’ livers everywhere breath a sigh of relief:
It’s Officially Tommy Time:
When Twee-updates sound like code out of a le Carré Cold War spy novel:
Godoy called for a handball inside the box, PK for Sac. Godoy given a yellow. Sammy Ochoa's PK is in, Bingham dove wrong.#SJvSAC, 1-1, 54'— Jeff Weisinger (@MrWeisGuy) February 25, 2017
Hey! Goals! And more goals! Salinas! Dawkins! Then:
GUESS WHO!! JAHMIR HYKA. GOAL! SAN JOSE! Hours after his introduction he scores on a perfect cross by Godoy in the 78th min.#SJvSAC, 3-1— Jeff Weisinger (@MrWeisGuy) February 25, 2017
Hoesen rocked one in too, and everyone in Black and Blue left happy, especially as many players stayed on the LOBINA Lawn meeting with fans and signing swag long after the final whistle:
A Message To Away Supporters:
We love you.
And that’s not just the beer talking.
We are honored that you took the time to travel to our stadium to share your songs, add your voice to the voluptuous volume, and contribute your supporters’ culture to create an amazing atmosphere for all football fans to appreciate.
Even while traveling to Avaya for an away match in “enemy” territory, you show how our shared love of soccer—especially in the Bay Area & Northern California—transcends rivalries & joins us together:
Sac Tower Bridge Battalion showed up, and well!
Not ironic: Avaya away section very rough—exposed to wind & landing jetliners—so being heard from the Quakes supporters section is a quality accomplishment & testament to your passion & lung power.
We hope you enjoy your time at Avaya, no matter the result, weather, or difficulties getting out of the parking lot.
Real Match Report and Photos:
So Much More...
...To talk about: fave players, formations (more 4-4-2, anyone?), paper towels, Hella Cup, the state of supporters groups, rivalries with other clubs, Q—it’s going to be a busy season! For more quality conversation, check out Quakes After 90, a fab podcast by fervent and thoughtful fans.
See you all for #SJvMTL at Avaya on Saturday, March 4—6:45pm kickoff!
[Might need a rain jacket or poncho! Remember: no umbrella allowed in Avaya. Also, the blue one-strap STH backbacks are not compliant with the new MLS-wide stadium bag rules, so stay clear.]