“You know, I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday morning than to do a little yard work with six thousand of my closest friends,” said San Jose Councilmember Sam Liccardo at the San Jose Earthquakes’ new stadium groundbreaking and Guinness World Record attempt on October 21. “Next week, Lew [Wolff], and Keith [Wolff] are going to have us come out here with six thousand erector sets and we’re going to start building this thing.”
It was a comical take on the truth. The Earthquakes have been playing at Santa Clara University’s Buck Shaw Stadium – a cozy venue that’s been very good to the Quakes this season, but it isn’t a place to call home. And, fans have been eager and anxious to have their own field – so much to where, if given the opportunity, they would show up with erector sets and start building it themselves.
“This day obviously is 40 years in the making,” said Quakes President Dave Kaval. “The original Earthquakes started in 1974 and it’s always been an integral part of the community and I felt that there was no better way to represent that connection to our community than by having a groundbreaking where everyone could participate. So, we are here today, gathered as a community, to build our stadium – to start a new course for our Earthquakes with success on and off the pitch.”
When a giant soccer ball emblazoned with every Earthquakes logo, dating from the team’s time playing as the San Jose Clash to present day, dropped from the top of a crane and an air horn sounded, participants were asked to shovel dirt for two full minutes – the time required by Guinness to break the record. As fans dug furiously and the seconds ticked off the clock, the reality of the historical significance of the day began to set in – a dream was finally becoming a reality.
“Alright everybody the results have been tabulated,” said Kaval. “I’m looking here at the numbers that were calculated. The previous record was 4,532 in Jaipur, India. The record today we set, a new Guinness Record, is 6,256.” With Kaval’s confirmation that the record had indeed been broken, the crowd erupted and raised the bright blue shovels that were handed out for the event above their heads. Blue and white confetti was shot out and floated into the crowd as the celebration began. The fans had done it – they set a world record and a new stadium was on its way.
“It was great to have fans do something unique like this,” said long-time Quakes fan Nolan Wong of San Leandro. “It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of something as awesome as this… I feel the stadium will help put people in the seats. The saying, ‘if you build it, they will come’ holds true whenever new stadiums are built.”
The new stadium, which will be built just outside of Santa Clara City limits at 1125 Coleman Avenue, should be completed by the start of the 2014 season. For more information visit www.sjearthquakes.com