Mexico to face Paraguay March 26 at Coliseum

Mexico to face Paraguay March 26 at Coliseum

Jan. 13, 2011
SAN JOSE TheSan Jose Earthquakes, Soccer United Marketing (SUM) and the FederacinMexicana de Ftbol (FMF) announced today that the Mexican National Teamwill face Paraguay on Saturday, March 26 at 2 p.m. PT at theOakland-Alameda County Coliseum. This Bay Area stopis part of Mexicos 2011 U.S. Tour.Anexclusive pre-sale for San Jose Earthquakes season ticket holders andother special groups will begin this Friday, January 14 at 10 a.m. PTby calling the Earthquakes at 408-556-7700. For group tickets orsuites, please contact the Earthquakes Front Office.Tickets for the general public will go on sale on Friday, Jan. 21 at 10 a.m. PT by visiting,by calling 800-225-2277 or visiting the usual tienda locations. Aspecial two-pack that includes a ticket to the Mexico-Paraguay game anda voucher for a ticket to an Earthquakes game can be purchased for aslow as 30. To purchase the two-pack, fans should call 408-556-7700.Scheduledon a FIFA fixture date, this match will mark Mexicos return to Oaklandafter almost two years, when they defeated Nicaragua 2-0 at theColiseum during the group phase of the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Mexicoand Paraguay last face off at Copa America 2007, where El Tri securedthe quarterfinal win.Forthe first time in its history, Paraguay reached the quarterfinals stageof the FIFA World Cup in South Africa this past summer. Led by theircaptain and goalkeeper Justo Villar (Real ValladolidSpain) and theirhead coach Gerardo Martino, Paraguay is preparing for this summersCopa America in Argentina, where they will face Brazil, Ecuador andVenezuela. Paraguayan national team standouts include defender DarioVeron (Pumas UNAMMexico), Paulo da Silva and Cristian Riveros, both ofthe English club Sunderland.The Mexican National Team, under the direction of new head coach Jose Manuel Chepo de la Torre will kick off its 2011 U.S. Tour in Atlantas Georgia Dome on February 9 against Bosnia-Herzegovina.ElTri has made a number of appearances in the Bay Area over the pastfive years, playing in both Oakland and San Francisco. Mexico lastplayed in the Bay Area on Feb. 24, 2010 at Candlestick Park in SanFrancisco, routing Bolivia 5-0. Prior to that match, Mexican NationalTeams made four appearances in Oakland from 2007-09. Mexico facedSweden in front of 46,550 fans on Jan. 28, 2009 before taking onNicaragua in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on July 5, 2009. The two previoustrips by Mexico to the Coliseum resulted in sellout crowds of 47,416.Mexico defeated Ecuador 4-2 on March 28, 2007 and on March 2, 2008, theUnder-23 teams of Mexico and Australia tied 1-1.The 2011 Mexican National Team U.S. Tour sponsors are adidas, Allstate, AT&T, Bud Light, Cacique, Coca-Cola, Castrol, Degree Men, Makita, NAPA Auto Parts and The Home Depot. Together, they will hostFtbol Fiesta, a huge celebration taking place beforeevery game, including an interactive zone of 120,000 square feet withlive music, games, celebrities and promotional memorabilia.About Soccer United Marketing
Foundedin 2002, Soccer United Marketing (SUM) is the preeminent marketingsoccer company in North America. SUM has the exclusive commercialrights to everything related to Major League Soccer (MLS) and U.S.Soccer Federation. SUM is also the official and exclusive marketingpromoter of the Mexican National Team when on tour in the U.S., plusthe marketing and promotion of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Since 2008, SUMhas a long-term agreement with historic and giant soccer club FCBarcelona, consisting on U.S. tours of the Spanish team. SUM also hasthe marketing rights in the U.S. to the most popular Mexican team, ClubDeportivo Guadalajara (Chivas).Additionally,SUM created SuperLiga and the Pan-Pacific Championship, twointernational level soccer tournaments including teams from the MLS,Mexico and Asia. Beginning 2009, SUM established MLS DigitalProperties, previously known as SUM Digital Network, the onlyadvertising network of its kind. It covers every single aspect of thesport in the United States, allowing sponsors to reach million ofsoccer fans through many advertising and sponsorship campaigns. All ofthese properties are represented by SUMs motto: One Sport. OneCompany. For more info, visit:www.SUMworld.comCourtesy San Jose Earthquakes media services

A heartfelt thank you to former Quakes defender Victor Bernardez


A heartfelt thank you to former Quakes defender Victor Bernardez

This week, the San Jose Earthquakes announced they would not be bringing back Victor Bernardez next year. 

For most people, this news barely registered on their radar, if at all.  For me, it is the end of the line for one of my favorite players, on my favorite team.

Who was Victor Bernardez?  He was an attacking central defender for the Quakes.  When he played, he constantly made you wonder if he was being overly aggressive, or out of control.  My heart would skip a beat when he would dive in on a tackle, and more often than not, he would come away having made an amazing play.

The first thing that stands out physically about Victor is his strength.  He’s like a bull or an angry rhinoceros -- he played fearlessly and with passion.  I constantly underestimated his offensive abilities.  I can’t count how many times it would look like he was just kicking the ball wildly to clear it, and it was actually a long pass in a perfect place for a counter attack to start.  Through some of the lean years, Victor’s long balls started many of the team's best offensive chances.

He was a relentless player who provided me some of my happiest moments as a fan.  I can clearly remember how despondent I was and how happy I ended up being at the 2012 California Classico at Stanford Stadium.  I had organized a trip for my kid’s soccer club and had over 200 people in our group.  For many, it was their first time to an Earthquakes game.  I wanted them to love the Quakes as much as I did.  Steven Lenhart scored an early goal (and did some pull ups on the goal). Then David Beckham scored, Jason Hernandez scored an own goal, and Landon Donovan put Galaxy up 3-1 in the 41st minute after a misplay by the Quakes defense. 

We were sitting in the end zone, pretty close to the Galaxy supporters group, and I was dreading things would get worse for my boys in the black and blue.  Then, in the 44th minute, Big Vic scored his first MLS goal on a swinging redirect off a Marvin Chavez corner kick, the likes of which I don’t think I’ve seen before or since.  It changed the whole outlook of the match.  Chris Wondolowski capped off the comeback with his unforgettable whirling, back-to-the-goal finish for the game winner.

I won’t forget the free-kick goal Victor scored that same year against Chivas where he took about 14 steps before he shot the ball around a 3-man wall and into the corner of the goal.  Nor will I forget the same approach he took when an opponent try to discourage him from a restart after a foul and stood about 3 yards from the ball.  Instead of asking the referee for 10 yards, he ran up and drilled the guy with the ball.  It deflected out of play for a throw-in and Victor had made his point. I don’t remember an opponent ever taking that same tact with him around.

Victor was listed as six-foot-two, but I was fortunate enough to share an elevator with him once.  I’m 5’10” and all I can think is that they measured him while wearing his longest studs on his cleats.  The truth is, while on the field, he played like he was six-foot-two -- and with the ferocity of lion. 

It was pretty clear this season that the club did not have plans for a 36-year-old center to come back in 2018.  In the middle portion of the season, other players found themselves where Victor had been a constant for years on the back line.  One of the things I am most grateful for is that Victor got a chance to be an impactful player on the run to the playoffs.  His passion for the club, and the game, shone bright.  His aggressive play in the September 30th must-win 2-1 victory over Portland showed the team how it needed to play if it was going to make the playoffs.  In spite of having trouble keeping up with speedster attackers, he was able to shore up a defense that ended the season -21 in goal differential, and get them into the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

There are other ways Victor has impacted my life.  He made me care about the country of Honduras, and how their national team is doing.  I openly cheered for a man nicknamed “Muma”.  I have no idea what it means, but it just sounds cool and makes me feel closer to him, even though our paths have rarely crossed.  He showed me how to be ready for when my number is called after feeling left out for a while.  He exemplified so many of the great things about the game and were a part of my growing love for the sport.  Most importantly, he showed me what can happen if a person puts their heart and soul into their craft, and complements it with humility, humor, and love.

Victor, I wish you well in whatever lies ahead.  Thank you for all the wonderful memories you provided me and my family as we got to watch you ply your trade.

Joe Washington is the senior coordinating producer for NBC Sports Bay Area/California  -- and a lifelong Quakes fan 

Why Quakes' hiring of Stahre is surprising, but not shocking at the same time

Michael Erichsen/Bildbyran

Why Quakes' hiring of Stahre is surprising, but not shocking at the same time

When the San Jose Earthquakes named Chris Leitch their head coach around the halfway point of last season, the biggest question wasn’t why, it was why not — as in, why not assign him the interim tag most people hired during the middle of a year get?

At the time, general manager Jesse Fioranelli's sans-interim approach was the GM saying that not only was the label not necessary and that Leitch was the in-house solution the Quakes needed to end a playoff drought going on five seasons but also that he was the right person to guide the team into a brighter future. 

And so that vote of confidence, coupled with Leitch guiding the Earthquakes to their first playoff appearance since 2012, plus the lack of an official announcement by the team that a coaching search was underway makes Friday’s hiring of Mikael Stahre a bit eye-popping and provides no clear-cut answer to what happened behind closed doors when the Quakes came back from Vancouver following a brutal exit from the postseason. 

Rumors began swirling midway through the week that Fioranelli had Stahre, the front man over at Sweden’s BK Hacken, in his sights. And there are those people who would argue the writing was on the wall for Leitch given the team’s inconsistent play — especially on the road. But were it not for some ambiguous, less-than-reassuring endorsements of Leitch following the 5-0 playoff loss that left the door open for just about anything, there are others who would say that Friday’s hiring of Stahre was completely out of left field. 

If anything, it appears Fioranelli, who Quakes fans knew very little about when he was hired as the GM back in January, is continuing a precedent that he’ll pull any trigger at any time. 

Whether Fioranelli’s decision to hire the Swedish head coach is the right thing to do is yet to be seen, obviously. Stahre built his name in Sweden, rising from the junior ranks to the front of a first team that last year jumped six spots in the standings. It’s one of many coaching statistics San Jose lists to try and assure fans they’re getting a true soccer mind for the job in Stahre. 

Fioranelli and team President Tom Fox are saying all the right things to welcome Stahre into the fold, mentioning his ability to relate to players — who reportedly gave Stahre glowing endorsements — as a key reason why he was ultimately chosen to lead the Quakes (read between the lines what you will there given the rumored-sour and still-unofficial departures of former Quakes mainstays Simon Dawkins, Cordell Cato and David Bingham once Leitch took over). 

Moreover, Fioranelli reiterated some of the points in the team’s press release during a conference call Friday afternoon. He mentioned that Leitch would stay on as the team’s technical director — the role he had before becoming the head coach and that the club’s decision to relieve him of the head coaching job had nothing to do with where the club was coming from (read: playoffs) but more so where they wanted to go moving forward (read: as of right now, unclear). Fioranelli said the search was extensive and that Stahre was one of three finalists for the job — including one from South America. He again pointed out that Stahre’s values align with those of the club and he’s a man his former players vouch for.

So, at least at first glance, San Jose is doing its best to make pretty and tie a bow around what was at-a-minimum an awkward firing of Dominic Kinnear and hiring of a man in Leitch who did just enough to justify the change but not enough to warrant extending Fioranelli’s experiment any longer. 

Only time will tell exactly what Fioranelli is creating over at Avaya Stadium.