SAN JOSE – The San Jose Earthquakes are partnering with Santa Clara County and the city of San Jose to bring new professional soccer fields and a training facility to the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds.
The plan was announced at a news conference at the fairgrounds Wednesday with city and county elected officials and representatives from the Earthquakes, who detailed a plan to install eight fields that could be shared by the Major League Soccer team and the public.
Earthquakes midfielder Edwyn Mendoza, 17, said that the fields will give youths in the community an opportunity to train alongside professionals and see their practice routines up close.
"I grew up in San Jose, so this facility will be a game-changer, not just for the Earthquakes players, but for kids from my community who get so much joy from playing the sport they love," said Mendoza. "For them to have the opportunity to play on fields right next to the professionals they look up to will serve as a visual reminder that they can follow their dreams and make them a reality one day," he said.
The proposal would have the county lease 30 acres at Umbarger and Monterey roads. Four public fields would be built on 16 acres. The team would lease the other 14 acres and a build a 35,000-square-foot training facility that will house locker and weight rooms, a dining hall, theater, medical treatment facility, offices and more.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, who spearheaded the project, said at the news conference that the new fields would further connect the community to the fairgrounds as a public resource.
"Putting this project here is so important because it demonstrates to the public that this area really does belong to everybody and to the neighborhood surrounding this community, how important it is to have recreation that's safe and healthy for our kids," Chavez said.
San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan said that finding a field for youth teams to play on is a persistent challenge in the city, and that as many as 50 fields would have to be built to meet the demand.
"This is a community resource that is badly needed in San Jose," said Mahan. He said he hoped the facility would become a regional destination for youth soccer and for residents to enjoy the sport.
Earthquakes head coach Luchi Gonzalez took some time to do header drills with some of the children who attended Wednesday's event. He said the team was committed to training and signing local players.
"I have worked all across the country, and as soccer continues to grow in America, I've witnessed firsthand how important it is that community fields are connected to their local professional clubs," said Gonzalez.
San Jose City Councilmembers Dev Davis, Bien Doan, Peter Ortiz and Omar Torres also attended the news conference, along with Santa Clara County Supervisor Susan Ellenberg and Earthquakes president Jared Shawlee.
The team, county and city have until October 2024 to finalize negotiations for the project under an agreement reached in April.
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