One of the many frustrations of supporting the Earthquakes all these years, and there are plenty, was the lack of communication between the front office and the supporters. Season after season we were left wondering what the direction of the team was and what their next move might be. I was not asking for them to completely open up their books and communicate every idea floating around Coleman Avenue, soccer is a business after all and businesses must have secrets. So, you can imagine my surprise when I opened up my inbox about a month ago to find an email from the Quakes asking me if I would like to have a one-on-one sit down with a member of the front office to discuss my thoughts on the team. As a season ticket holder, I was immediately skeptical. Was this another sales pitch to try to get me to sign-up for another year of tickets? Maybe it was a way to gauge how mad they had made the supporter base and were thinking of ways to contain the flames?
It turned out to be a meeting that left me wanting to renew my tickets for another five years, and this was on Saturday before the official announcement of the hiring of Matias Almeyda.
I was so curious about who they would send out to stand in the firing line. As hopeful, as I wanted to be I couldn’t help but think that they would send a poor intern to get chewed out or maybe a member of the coaching staff. I, personally, was crossing my fingers for goalkeeper coach Jyri Nieminen, I must ask him what product he uses in his hair to keep that blonde wave perfectly crested. You can imagine my surprise when I was told I would be speaking with Jed, as in Jed Mettee Executive Vice President of Business Operations of the San Jose Earthquakes. Not exactly an intern sent out to face the fire but definitely not Nieminen.
What followed was a 30-minute conversation where I was allowed to express my feelings and expectations about the club. A conversation where I felt like I was actually being listened to and that this team was finally moving in a different direction. Of course, I can’t say any details from the meeting, can you imagine the chaos that would erupt if the rest of MLS found out about the plan to place a giant Q statue just inside the main gate. I hear he will rotate to face the pitch before every home game.
Do the actions of the last week make me forget all the missed opportunities of the past? Of course not. A new willingness to reach out to supporters and a big manager signing does not guarantee any success in this league and it doesn’t seem like anyone in the Quakes front office is counting their chickens. After all, just about 12 months ago a lot of people thought this team was finally finding its way and we all know how this season turned out. In the words of Red Sox fans for most of the 20th century “maybe next year.”