The stage is set for the San Jose Earthquakes and their legion of blue shovel wielding supporters to break the Guinness World Record for largest number of people participating in a groundbreaking ceremony.
Nearly 6,000 blue shovels have been carefully positioned in the soccer pitch sized plot of fertile Silicon Valley soil much like the cherry and apricot orchards of old that once filled this area. And for over half a century, that dirt has been masked by the concrete and steel of industry, only just unveiled a few days ago to a new life in the 21st century. The now barren property once manufactured military hardware, but from its projected opening for the start of the 2014 MLS season is expected to produce MLS hardware.
The new epicenter for soccer in San Jose is expected to hold 18,000 fans — nearly that many could descend on the Airport West property to begin sowing the seeds for that momentous facility, growing the game, one scoop of dirt at a time. The design of the stadium itself is something unique to Bay Area sports, and fits with the ethos of Silicon Valley. Start-ups dream of "The Next Big Thing," and so have the Earthquakes.
The new stadium is being billed as the Bay Area’s most intimate outdoor sporting venue, with a single-deck bowl offering the closest views in American soccer. Rising up from the open fourth end of the stadium will be a double-sided video display scoreboard, and a two-acre fan zone and picnic area will spread out beneath it. And maybe most audacious of all, and completely in line with what makes the San Jose area so great, the stadium will strive to feature the largest outdoor bar in North America.
While somewhat a mystery those qualities that qualify a bar as the "largest," that sense of hyperbole is famous around these parts, and the Earthquakes new stadium will fit in right alongside other Silicon Valley icons. However, to get there from here, the first step is to build it up. The days of dreaming and sketching stadium designs on cocktail napkins are over.
The day to dig has arrived.