I have to admit that I didn’t go to one Earthquakes game this year. I like soccer, I support San Jose teams, but I didn’t make it to a single game. We support the Sharks even after a year-long lockout, but the majority of San Joseans bypass what is the most popular sport in the world.
The problem is that Earthquakes games need atmosphere. The feeling I get when I walk into Spartan Stadium is that I am in some high school football field with dilapidated facilities and no character. The only solution is for San Jose to build a new soccer stadium.
Here is my proposal:
· The Arena Should be Small and Intimate
The new stadium should have 15-20,000 seats. Provide a place that’s lively and loud and people will come.
· Add Some Class
Add suites, bars and restaurants. One thing I have seen that works is a restaurant that overlooks the action, so people can sit in their seats, have a club sandwich and a beer, and not miss any of the action. Imagine that on a warm summer day.
· Make it Kid-Friendly
This is the most important piece. There should be several soccer fields attached to the stadium for youth soccer. Have Saturday tournaments and practices here. Teams have to find fields, so why not congregate at a soccer facility where they can be close to the Major League team?
· Make it accessible
The stadium should be downtown near the Shark Tank. Sharks games are easy to get to by car, foot or train. Spartan Stadium isn’t easy.
Since baseball is a long shot, this is something so attainable for our city. I’d hate to see a popular sport and a great team leave town only because we can’t provide a nice enough home for them.