SAN JOSE -- Since being named Earthquakes president in October 2010 DaveKaval has repeatedly made clear that his primary objective has been to secure asoccer-specific stadium for the team. On Wednesday, he and the team overcame amajor hurdle to making that dream a reality. The San Jose Planning Commission gave a unanimous 6-0 voteto uphold the Earthquakes' Planned Development Permit Wednesday night.The vote was necessary after a member of the NewhallNeighborhood Association appealed an original approval for the permit.It was the final hurdle preventing the beginning ofconstruction for the new, privately-financed, 18,000-capacity stadium at 1125 Coleman Ave."Tonight's decision to uphold the Planned DevelopmentPermit that we received in December is a milestone not just for the San JoseEarthquakes but all Bay Area soccer fans," Kaval said. "Our club and its stakeholders have worked hard throughthis process and we feel that we have a great plan for our new stadium. Kaval explained that it could take another few months beforegroundbreaking could occur, as the team still need to draw up the blueprintsfor the stadium and finish securing financing. We obviously have to commission the working drawings and atthe same time finalize the financing, which could not be finalized with theuncertainty around the permit, Kaval said. Its going to take three or four months at least to createour working drawings. And thats to create the base of the constructiondocuments, to build the stadium. That needs to be done right and its important that itsdone in an effective way, and well start that right away with DEFCON, with ourconstruction partner, Kaval said. Kaval said that with the appeal process out of the way,the team could move closer to securing naming rights, and said the team hadtalked to five or six different companies seriously about the rights, thoughthere wasnt a set timetable. The specifics of the Neighborhood Associations appealnamely involved concerns that there was inadequate noise analysis inEnvironmental Impact Report (EIR) conducted for the stadium. Despite the concerns, Joe Horwedel, the Director of the Cityof San JosesDepartment of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement maintained that theproposed stadium met the EIR standards. He added that the San Jose planning staff had recommended tothe commission that the appeal should be denied and approval should be given tothe new stadium. Both the appellate (Nancy Thomas, represented by JohnUrban), and the applicant (the team, represented by owner Lew Wolff, who willbe funding the stadium, and Kaval) were given opportunities to speak for andagainst the appeal, respectively. Kaval and Wolff highlighted the concessions the team hadmade in order to ease the neighbors concerns, including forgoing the option tohold concerts at the stadium, and emphasized the proposed project as a qualityof life boost for the area. Like weve been saying for a long time, not havingconcerts, reorienting the stadium, putting additional dollars in the stadium,these were big concessions, Kaval said.These were things that we felt were accommodating thecommunity and the folks who needed the mitigation, and thats why we felt likewe had a good plan. We executed on that plan, and I think that bore itself outtoday with the decision. After both parties spoke, the floor was opened for publiccomment, which took up the majority of the session. The initial speakers were overwhelmingly in favor of theproject, with parties ranging from fans, local businesses, neighborhood leadersand members of various trade associations speaking in favor of the project,highlighting the various benefits the stadium would bring to the community. MLSPresident Mark Abbott also spoke on behalf of the project during the publiccomments time. Those that supported the appeal and delay of the stadiumspoke mostly towards the end of the public comments and a more narrow view,focusing on the noise concerns and how they were addressed in the EIR, whichone Commissioner reminded the chamber was the focus of the appeal.The speakers in support further emphasized that they werenot against soccer or even the construction of the stadium, but had concernsabout the way the EIR and permit processes had been conducted and urged theCommission to uphold the appeal so as to give more time to analyze the noiselevels of the proposed project. After statements from both parties to close out the publiccomment, the Commission deliberated and voted unanimously to deny the appealand let the project go forward.Its the goal of all of our clubs to have a stadium to calltheir own home, Abbott said. Its important forthe club, its important for the fans, its important for the community and Imjust so pleased that we were able to achieve that this evening.For moreEarthquakes, MLS and world soccer chatter, you can follow Nick Rosano onTwitter: @nicholasrosano.
The San Jose Earthquakes completed their participation in the 2017 MLS Superdraft with a nod to local soccer talent.
A couple of days after selecting a pair of midfielders in rounds one and two, the Quakes chose winger Christian Thierjung from the University of California with their third-round selection.
Thierjung joins Nick Lima, San Jose’s second-ever homegrown signing, as offseason moves that involve Golden Bears.
Thierjung, 22, goes to the Quakes after four seasons at Cal, where he appeared in 73 games, tallying 27 goals and seven assists.
As a senior, Thierjung was named First-Team All-Pac-12, Third Team All-Far West Region and Second-Team Academic All-Pac-12. He was selected First-Team All-Pac-12 and Second-Team All-Far West Region in 2015.
Thierjung also played for the Quakes' PDL affiliate Burlingame Dragons FC during the 2016 season, tallying two goals in five total appearances.
With their fourth-round selection, the Quakes took Auden Schilder, the 22-year-old goalkeeper from the University of Washington.
Schilder was selected Second Team All-Pac-12 Conference and Second Team All-Far West Region in 2016 after surrendering just 18 goals in 20 appearances and posting five shutouts.
During rounds one and two, the Quakes selected Generation Adidas midfielder Jackson Yueill with the No. 6 overall selection and University of South Florida midfielder Lindo Mfeka.
Also making local soccer news, Thierjung’s teammate on Burlingame Dragons FC, three-year captain Joshua Smith, was selected in the fourth round by the New England Revolution. Smith also captained the University of San Francisco.
On Tuesday, San Jose announced the signings of Marvell Wynne and Tommy Thompson. Per league rules, terms of the deals were not disclosed.
Thompson, 21, became the Earthquakes' first-ever homegrown player signing in 2014, following one season at Indiana University where he was named the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Year. He’s yet to score a point in an MLS match.
Wynne has appeared in 301 games during his 11-year MLS career, recording two goals and 21 assists. He was an invaluable member of a Quakes team that was hit hard by injuries in 2016.
Wynne helped the Colorado Rapids win MLS Cup in 2010. He has also represented the United States National Team and was a starter during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
The San Jose Earthquakes began their 2017 draft by taking a UCLA Bruin. And if he pans out to play anything like the player he emulates his game around, the Quakes might have themselves a true superstar.
Jackson Yueill, a midfielder, was selected by the Quakes with the sixth pick in the 2017 Superdraft. Yueill, who models his game around FC Barcelona and Spanish National Team legend Andres Iniesta, is a Generation Adidas Signing for the Earthquakes.
"I'm super excited," Yueill said. "I love the west coast. I'm excited to move to San Jose. It's a really good environment with the team and the fans. I've heard great things. I'm excited to try and bring another cup to San Jose."
The UCLA product played in 40 games during his college career, scoring nine goals and notching 17 assists during those contests. His 11 assists in 2016 led the Pac-12.
Considered a high-upside player, Yueill joins the Quakes in what already is a pretyt stacked midfield. "I see myself as an 8," Yueill said of his fit in the MLS game. "A box-to-box midfielder who can get into the attacking zone and create goal scoring opportunities."
Yueill was named to back-to-back NSCAA First Team All-Far West Region and First Team All-Pacific 12 Conference teams. He has represented the United States on the U-20 team.
As a member of Generation Adidas, Yueill's salary will not count against salary cap.
"I'm a player that loves to learn," Yueill said. "It's always great to come to a team where the coach believes in you."
With the 28th pick of the draft, the Earthquakes selected another midfielder -- Lindo Mfeka of the University of South Florida.
A four-year player with the Bulls, Mfeka scored 16 goals and notched 18 assists in his college career.
Mfeka is a two-time First Team member of the All-American Athletic Conference. He was born in Durban, South Africa.
Day 2 of the MLS Superdraft will happen via conference call next Tuesday. The Quakes have two picks remaining -- the 50th and 72nd overall selections.
Rounding out local Superdraft News: Two members of the Quakes' Premier Development League affiliate, Burlingame Dragons FC, were selected in Day 1. Brian Nana-Sinkam (Stanford) was selected by the MLS-champion Seattle Sounders and Brian Wright (Vermont) went to the New England Revolution.