Known for their passionate fan base, the San Jose Earthquakes took the time to give back this season by recognizing fans from specific South Bay neighborhoods at “Neighborhood Nights.”
The Major League Soccer team celebrated the Rose Garden, South San Jose, Evergreen, Los Gatos, Willow Glen, Palo Alto, Japantown, South of San Jose, Campbell, West San Jose Almaden Valley, East San Jose, Cambrian and last, but not least, on the final home game of their season, Santa Clara.
With each celebration, fans from each neighborhood were offered discounted tickets, a Quakes T-shirt designed specifically for their community, on-field pregame experience and a Quakes player visiting that neighborhood the week prior to the game.
“This is the first year we’ve done it,” remarked Earthquakes COO Jared Shawlee. “We wanted to celebrate the South Bay, but nobody says they are from the South Bay. You say you’re from Willow Glen, Campbell or Santa Clara. And we realized that hasn’t ever really been celebrated on a large scale. As for today with Santa Clara, it’s great to give back. We used to play our games in Santa Clara so we have always had a good relationship with the Mayor’s office.”
Not only did the Earthquakes recognize Santa Clara at their home finale back on Oct. 21, they also hosted the Santa Clara High School girls soccer team last season as part of their high school soccer series. The Bruins lost that game 3-1 to Presentation High School, but the experience was unforgettable for the players and coaches.
“It’s really cool that the Earthquakes reach out to high school teams and give them the opportunity to play on a professional pitch. A once in a lifetime opportunity for a lot of these kids,” noted Bruins Head Coach Brad Comstock. “It certainly was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. I can cross it off my bucket list.”
The Earthquakes this season finished in last place in the MLS, but star player Chris Wondolowski expressed his appreciation of the fans for sticking by the team this season.
“Thank you guys, I don’t know how you do it,” said Wondolowski. “You are amazing. Sticking with us through thick and thin, still singing, still loud. You guys are unbelievable fans. We wouldn’t be able to do it without you. From the bottom of my heart, I feel so sorry for them. You deserve a lot better. Hopefully we can give it to you next year.”