MLS Earthquakes Set World Record At Stadium Groundbreaking Ceremony
At the MLS Earthquakes' groundbreaking ceremony yesterday for a new San Jose stadium, Guinness World Records officials said that the attendance of "exactly 6,256 people, most of them ordinary Quakes fans, surpassed the previous groundbreaking high mark of 4,532," according to Joe Rodriguez of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Earthquakes officials said that the large turnout will "bode well for season-ticket sales and the long-term success and stability of the team." Earthquakes President Dave Kaval said, "Since it's been such a saga to get to this point, people wanted to celebrate." The MLS office "was skeptical the Quakes could set a Guinness record" for the groundbreaking, but league Commissioner Don Garber "came out anyway." He said that soccer-specific stadiums "are crucial for the league's success." Garber: "These things are difficult, but they eventually get done." The new facility "is expected to open in 2014" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/22). MLSSOCCER.com's Geoff Lepper noted San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed at many different points was asked, "Did you think this wouldn't get done?" Reed replied, "Oh, probably a dozen different times." He added, "We in San Jose have been trying to have a home in San Jose for a soccer team for decades now. So we're all excited about this." Lepper noted thousands of "commemorative shovels were impaled in dirt located where" the pitch is "eventually slated to be laid." Fans and dignitaries "staked out their spots and, after a wrecking ball painted in black-and-white to resemble a 1970s-era soccer ball thudded into the earth, dug for two minutes to set the official Guinness World Record" (MLSSOCCER.com, 10/21).
HITTING A ROUGH PATCH: The groundbreaking ceremony took place before the Earthquakes' regular-season home finale against the MLS Galaxy, and in San Jose, Elliott Almond notes it "all didn't go as planned for Major League Soccer's newly minted regular-season champions" on a day Garber and other dignitaries "were part of the sellout crowd of 10,744 at Buck Shaw Stadium." An "altercation in the stand where L.A. supporters sat escalated when some fans stopped security from breaking up a fight." Santa Clara Police Lt. Matt Hogan said that that led his department "to call for 20 additional officers from the San Jose Police Department and the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety to restore order." An Earthquakes spokesperson said that police "escorted about 100 Galaxy fans out of the stadium during the second half" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/22).