Santa Clara Magazine

Earthquake Country

Earthquake Country

By Sam Scott ’96

Earthquakes mascot “Q” (for Quakes) at Buck Shaw Stadium. Santa Clara grads helped build his new home, Avaya Stadium. View full image. Photography by Jim Gensheimer. Used with permission of the San Jose Mercury News.
Sure, we’ll miss having men’s pro soccer play on campus. But the Quakes’ new home is pretty spectacular.

You might not expect Dave Kaval, the president of the San Jose Earthquakes, to feel stadium nostalgia. But Kaval offers up nothing but good things about the home turf where, in fall 2014, the Quakes wrapped up a seven-year run: SCU’s Buck Shaw Stadium, which provided a home when the team came back to Silicon Valley in 2008.

Last season, Major League Soccer teams averaged attendance nearing 20,000 fans a game. So Buck Shaw’s 10,500 capacity might seem quaint. But that very size—and the crowd pressing in—helped make it one of the league’s most formidable destinations for visitors. In 2012, no team had a better home record than the Quakes.

“It was a fortress,” Kaval says of Buck Shaw. “We were so grateful to be able to play there.”

At SCU, the Quakes gathered energy and resources for their push for a new stadium. They also brought upgrades to SCU’s field, scoreboard, sound system, and lighting—not to mention some first-rate media exposure. Safe to say David Beckham hadn’t played in this small a stadium in quite some time. 

The new $100 million Avaya Stadium is on San Jose’s Coleman Avenue. A permanent home was always part of the plans—just ask SCU grads Mike Turco ’87 and Colin McCarthy J.D. ’97, who co-founded Soccer Silicon Valley more than a decade ago to bring the Quakes back and help them build a home. Now McCarthy heads the SSV Community Foundation, engaged in soccer outreach.

Buck Shaw Stadium’s storied soccer history includes hosting 1994 World Cup champions Brazil, Women’s Professional Soccer team FC Gold Pride, and, of course, SCU’s NCAA championship teams. 

“So many more soccer fans have been on our campus because of the Earthquakes, and that only adds to the soccer buzz on our campus,” says Eric Yamamoto ’90, associate head coach of Santa Clara men’s soccer. “For our teams to see professional players, coaches, and staff on a daily basis gave them something to look to for their future.”

The departure of the Quakes closes a chapter. It also makes way for further improvement to SCU’s soccer facilities, including a state-of-the-art training center as well as additional stadium upgrades—made possible by last year’s $7.7 million gift from Mary Stevens ’84 and her husband, Mark. 

Avaya Stadium is constructed on an SCU foundation. It was built by DevCon—the same company behind the epic Levi’s Stadium, the San Francisco 49ers’ new home in Santa Clara—under leadership of president Gary Filizetti ’67, MBA ’69 and vice president of construction Peter Copriviza ’84, MBA ’88.

Avaya Stadium’s steeply banked European-style seating puts fans close to the action—with room for nearly 8,000 more of them. It also boasts what is purported to be the largest outdoor bar in North America.

Avaya Stadium Gallery

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