Earthquakes Come Home

History San José

Celebrating 40 years of professional soccer in San Jose, featuring History San José's Soccer Legacy Collection

Quakes 74 
This online exhibit is an extension of an exhibit curated by History San José and displayed at the Quakes 74 anniversary celebration for players and fans at San Jose's San Pedro Square Market in 2014. The exhibit, sponsored by the San Jose Earthquakes Major League Soccer Team, and displaying material from History San José's extensive Soccer Legacy Collection, celebrates 40 years of professional men’s soccer in San Jose.
San Jose Earthquakes 1974­-1988
When the six-­year-­old North American Soccer League awarded an expansion franchise to San Jose in 1974, the San Jose Mercury News held a contest for the fans to name the team. The winning name was Earthquakes. Spartan Stadium hosted the San Jose Earthquakes to near capacity crowds who were led in cheers by Krazy George Henderson. The team folded in 1988, along with North American professional soccer.
Oaks and Blackhawks 1989­-1995
1991 San Francisco Bay Blackhawks
The San Francisco Bay Blackhawks were a minor pro soccer team in the Western Soccer League (WSL) in 1989, American Professional Soccer League (APSL) in 1990-92, and as the Hawks in the United States International Soccer League (USISL) in 1993, during the years between the demise of the NASL in 1994 and Major League Soccer (MLS) in 1996. Owned by real estate lawyer Dan van Voorhis and playing home matches at Spartan Stadium, the Blackhawks fielded a star-­studded roster and won the APSL Championship in 1991 defeating the Albany Capitals.
1992 San Jose Oaks
The U.S. Open Cup, dating to 1914, is the oldest soccer competition in the country. In 1992, the amateur San Jose Oaks squad, playing home games in Watson Park in San Jose’s Northside neighborhood, improbably captured the Open Cup and earned the right to call themselves national champions. It is the only Open Cup ever won by a team representing San Jose in the century-­old competition.
MLS Clash and Quakes 1996-2005
San Jose Clash vs. DC United MLS Inaugural Match, April 6, 1996
Major League Soccer elected to hold its inaugural match of their new league at Spartan Stadium with the Clash hosting DC United. The Clash’s starting line-­up included several local stars like goalkeeper Tom Liner from Redwood City, defender Tim Martin from San Jose, defender John Doyle from Fremont, defender Troy Dayak from Walnut Creek, midfielder Paul Bravo from Campbell, and forward Jeff Baicher from Sunnyvale. The Clash’s forward Eric Wynalda scored the first goal of MLS and the only goal of the match in the 88th minute. Wynalda’s inaugural goal would later be named 1996 MLS Goal of the Year.
San Jose Earthquakes 2000-­2005
In 2000, the Clash was renamed the Earthquakes. With the change came great success within the league: a MLS Championship in 2001, a MLS Championship in 2003, and a Supporters’ Shield in 2005. Despite the Earthquakes success and fan support, problems identifying a stadium location caused the league to put the team on hiatus and to move the players and staff to Houston.
Return of the Earthquakes 2008­-2013
2008 The Quakes Return
A compelling soccer legacy, a steadfast fan base, and a determined community convinced Major League Soccer to award San Jose with an expansion franchise only two years after the Earthquakes moved to Houston. Lew Wolff and John Fisher, the principal owners of the Oakland A’s, had exercised their option to purchase the team and build a soccer specific stadium. From 2008-­2014, while their new stadium was being built on Coleman Avenue, the Earthquakes played at Buck Shaw Stadium at Santa Clara University.
2012 Earthquakes
With the best record in MLS, the Earthquakes won their second Supporters’ Shield. They scored a franchise record 72 goals and their star forward Chris Wondolowski became the club’s all-­time leading goal ­scorer. “Wondo” also tied the MLS record for goals in a season with 27, winning his second Golden Boot.
MLS Champions 2001­ & 2003
San Jose Earthquakes 2003 MLS Cup Champions
A dominating team performance that included two goals from Quakes forward Landon Donovan led to a 4-­2 victory over the Chicago Fire on November 23 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, and the San Jose Earthquakes second MLS Championship in three years.
San Jose Earthquakes 2001 MLS Cup Champions
Dwayne De Rosario scored a Golden Goal in overtime to lead the San Jose Earthquakes to a 2­-1 victory over their rivals the Los Angeles Galaxy in the 2001 MLS Cup on October 21 at Columbus Crew Stadium in Ohio.
Avaya Stadium 2015
A new era begins for the San José Earthquakes in their own stadium in their own city.
Inaugural Match March 22, 2015
A day of celebration with tailgates, food trucks, the largest outdoor bar in North America, chants, cheers, Brandi Chastain, tifo, skydivers, and a Quakes victory marked the first match at Avaya Stadium.
Credits: Story


Katrina Anderson, Collections and Exhibitions Volunteer, History San José

Ken Middlebrook, Curator of Collections, History San José

Alex Jackson, Preparator

Online Exhibit Creator:

Catherine Mills, Curator, Library & Archives, History San José

Thanks to the San Jose Earthquakes for sponsoring the original exhibit and to the members of Soccer Silicon Valley for their donations to the Soccer Legacy Collection History San José.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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