Quakes stadium looms large for Wolff, A's


Quakes stadium looms large for Wolff, A's

Lew Wolff is waiting to hear about a stadium in San Jose this week.

No, not that one.

The As stadium in San Jose -- which is in the infancy stage -- gets all the headlines. But Wolff is much further along with plans for a soccer stadium for the San Jose Earthquakes.

On Wednesday night the San Jose Planning Commission is expected to make a decision on the building permit.

The permit was approved in December but was appealed by a neighborhood group.

The 60 million, 18,000-seat Earthquakes stadium is the canary in the coal mine for Wolff. How this process goes could very much impact his plans to build a 500 million baseball stadium in the same city, dealing with the same planning department and same public.

The history of the project shows just how difficult it is to get even a small stadium built that will host only 30-35 events a year.

A quick review of the Earthquakes stadium plans would put anyone off from assuming they can be watching baseball in San Jose within the next few years.

Thoughts that the four-year contract the As just gave Yoenis Cespedes could take the As into a new ballpark? Well, maybe into the first round of neighborhood appeals.

The Earthquakes stadium was proposed in 2007 as part of larger mixed-use plan, complete with retail and a hotel. By 2008 the plan was reduced to a smaller site. By 2009, in the midst of a cratering economy, Wolff backed away from his planned 2012 opening date. Finally, in early January of 2011, Wolff submitted an application for a development permit. That was approved in December.

But in January a neighborhood group appealed, saying the impact of noise and lights hasnt been properly analyzed and that some of the language in the permit is too vague.

So even a small plot of industrial land hard by an airport and railroad tracks is going to face obstacles.

If the planning permit is approved tonight, the team will still have to apply for a building permit.

Anyone who is surprised that the process of getting any kind of a stadium built in California takes this long must be a) new here or b) not paying attention.

For five years Wolff and associates have had to play nice, massage the process and accommodate everybody for the rights to build a soccer stadium.

But the real goal isnt a soccer stadium. The real prize lies ahead.

Freelance writer Ann Killion is a regular contributor to CSNBayArea.com and Chronicle Live.

Neymar to sign extension with Barcelona through 2021


Neymar to sign extension with Barcelona through 2021

MADRID — Neymar will sign a three-year contract extension with Barcelona on Friday, a deal that will keep the Brazil forward with the Spanish club until 2021.

Barcelona and Neymar had made the announcement of the agreement in July.

The previous contract was to end in 2018. The new deal will run through June 2021, Barcelona said Monday.

The club's announcement in July ended speculation that Neymar was unhappy in Spain and was looking to move to another club. Paris Saint-Germain was among the clubs reportedly trying to sign him.

At the time, the club said the contract's buyout clause would be fixed at 200 million euros ($219 million) for the first year of the new contract, 222 million euros ($243 million) for the second, and 250 million euros ($274 million) for the final three years.

Neymar has been with Barcelona since moving from Brazilian club Santos in 2013. He has scored 90 goals in 149 matches, including five goals in eight matches this season.

A key player in Barcelona's potent attack along with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, Neymar helped the team win nine titles: two Spanish league titles, two Copa del Reys, two Spanish Super Cups, the Champions League, the European Super Cup, and the Club World Cup.

The trio of attacking players scored 122 goals in the 2014-15 season and 131 goals last season, both record figures.

Neymar and his father, who acts as his agent, are likely to face trial for fraud in Spain in a case into alleged irregularities regarding his transfer from Santos to Barcelona. A Brazilian investment group which was entitled to 40 percent of the transfer claims it received a smaller compensation than it should have because part of the fee was concealed.

Barcelona also confirmed that defender Javier Mascherano will be staying with the club until 2019. That deal also had been announced in July.

Bingham makes seven saves in Earthquakes' 0-0 draw with Whitecaps


Bingham makes seven saves in Earthquakes' 0-0 draw with Whitecaps


SAN JOSE -- Paolo Tornaghi had a clean sheet in his first MLS start and the Vancouver Whitecaps tied the San Jose Earthquakes 0-0 on Sunday in a game with no playoff implications.

Both teams had already seen their postseason hopes vanish. Vancouver (9-15-9) had its winless streak extended to four games and San Jose (8-11-14) has only won once in its last 10 games.

Tornaghi came out of his area to block Simon Dawkins' shot from the corner of the 6-yard box in the seventh minute. Cordell Cato tried to curl a shot inside the far post in the ninth minute but Tornaghi dove to deflect it wide.

Vancouver forward Masato Kudo won a loose ball in the penalty area in the 54th minute but David Bingham deflected the open shot. Bingham blocked Kudo's shot in the 56th and Kudo's rebound attempt hit the crossbar.

It was the sixth straight draw in the series at San Jose - with the last win coming on April 6, 2012.