It is at this time of year that many Americans stop to give thanks for the blessings of the last year. As a San Jose Earthquakes supporter it can seem difficult to find things to be grateful for after so many years of disappointment. So I made a short list of things that I am grateful for this last year.
The former Chivas and River Plate manager may not be well known to American soccer fans but his record in Argentina and Mexico has been stellar. He also has a knack for developing youth talent which is something the Earthquakes have struggled in especially in a state full of soccer players like California. If anyone was concerned that this may be too large of a project for one person to turn around the recent announcement of Almeydas staff should help ease some concerns. With that staff around him the Earthquakes have one of the deepest coaching staffs in Major League Soccer.
Since the Earthquakes opened their permanent home in 2015 new MLS stadiums have become the cathedrals to capitalism American sports fans have come to expect. Avaya may not have all the bells-and-whistles of these ultra-modern stadiums but it is our home. After decades lost in the desert of the South Bay it is our promised land and I love it. From the longest outdoor bar in North America to the Beer of the Worlds section to the open end facing the airport and Mt. Hamilton this quirky little stadium is my favorite place to watch soccer.
The largest city of Northern California is usually overshadowed by its more glamorous neighbor to the north but Earthquakes fans love and appreciate the capital of the Silicon Valley. San Jose has beautiful weather, diverse neighborhoods, and an overlooked food scene. The downtown is in the midst of a revival that will eventually bring in BART, high speed rail, and thousands more employees and residents. With Avaya Stadium only a couple a miles from the downtown core and excellent connections to transit the atmosphere is only going to get better in the future.
How can I make a list of things I appreciate as a Earthquakes supporter and not mention the GOAT. Wondolowski has been the one consistent bright spot since the Earthquakes return to MLS and is at the doorstep of another record. Wondo sits at 144 career goals scored only one behind MLS legend Landon Donovan. Nearing 36-years of age and with a new coach Wondos time on the pitch might be limited next year but it should give him plenty of time to surpass yet another scoring record.
So there is my list. What do you think about it and what were you grateful for this last year?