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.
SAN JOSE - The San Jose Earthquakes announced Friday that the club has hired Mikael Stahre (Michael STAR-eh) as head coach. Stahre brings 11 years of head coaching experience in top European leagues to San Jose. Chris Leitch and Alex Covelo, who spent the final four months of the 2017 season as head coach and assistant coach, respectively, will return to their roles as technical director and director of methodology.
"After a thorough evaluation process, we are excited that Mikael will be joining our club," said Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli. "What stood out with Mikael are not only the cups his teams won and his consistency over the past 10+ seasons, but also his ability to identify with our players, our coaching staff and most importantly our goals."
"I would like to take this occasion to thank Chris [Leitch] for his dedication to the club," continued Fioranelli. "We would not be where we are today without the contributions of Chris and Alex [Covelo] on the coaching staff. I look forward to working with him as he resumes his role as technical director. We are a special club with special people."
Stahre, 42, comes to San Jose after one year as the head coach of BK Hacken in the Swedish top-flight Allsvenskan. During his lone season with the club, Stahre led the team to a 14-6-10 record, a +14 goal-differential, the third-fewest goals allowed in the league (28) and a fourth-place finish. Stahre elevated Hacken from 10th place in 2016 with an 11-12-7 record to a top-four finish for the first time since 2012.
"We are very excited to bring Mikael in to lead us forward and build on the momentum of this past season," said Earthquakes President Tom Fox. "We are an ambitious club and believe his extensive experience and track record will bring a strong presence to our locker room and will put us firmly on the path to success."
Stahre, from Stockholm, Sweden, began his coaching career in 2007 with FC Vasby United of the Swedish third-tier. Under his guidance, FC Vasby finished in second place with a 15-5-6 record and the third-best offense in the league, earning promotion to the second-tier Superettan. He remained with the club for one more year, finishing mid-table despite possessing the youngest team in the league, before moving to AIK in 2009.
"I am very proud to be the new head coach of the San Jose Earthquakes and for the opportunity to work with Jesse Fioranelli and the other members of the organization," said Stahre. "I'm going to give everything I have to the Quakes and I am very excited about being a part of the future of the club."
Inheriting a team that had finished in fifth place the year before, Stahre led AIK to a league championship in his first season. The club went 18-5-7 with a league-low 20 goals allowed in 30 games, marking their first Swedish title since 1998. That same year, AIK won the Swedish Cup, comparable to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, with a perfect 5-0 record in single-elimination play.
After winning the double, Stahre had a stint with Panionios in Greece before moving back to Sweden to take charge of IFK Goteborg ahead of the 2012 Allsvenskan season. Stahre again quickly led his side to silverware, with IFK winning the 2012-13 Swedish Cup. In 2013, IFK rose from a mid-table club to third place (16-8-6), ranking among the league-leaders in goals for (49, t-4th) and goals against (31, 3rd). IFK made another jump the following year, finishing second with a 15-4-11 record and a +24 goal-differential. He also gave increased opportunity to youth players such as 18-year-old forward Gustav Engvall and 20-year-old fullback Ludwig Augustinsson. The duo finished No. 1 and No. 2 in Newcomer of the Year voting and have both gone on to represent the Swedish National Team, who are bound for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
After his three successful seasons with IFK, Stahre's next challenge was to take over Dalian Aerbin (Yifang), who had just been relegated from the Chinese Super League to League One. In his first season in China in 2015, Stahre led Dalian Aerbin to a third-place finish with a 17-6-7 record and the league's second-best goal-differential (+24), narrowly missing out on promotion. He remained with the team for half of the 2016 season, exiting after a 10-6-2 start to the campaign, and returning to Sweden to take over Hacken in January of 2017.
In addition to his many years of coaching First Team football, Stahre also has experience at the youth level. He served as head coach of the Hammarby U-19s from 1994-97 and the AIK U-19s from 1998-2005, leading AIK to the junior national championship in 2004.
The assistants on Stahre's coaching staff will be announced at a later date.
San Jose Earthquakes media services
The dream is no more.
San Francisco Deltas' CEO Brian Andres Helmick ended speculation on Friday when he released a statement announcing the end of the team after one season in the North American Soccer League -- a DII professional league in the USSF pyramid.
The Deltas are fresh off claming the NASL's championship in front of a sold-out crowd at Kezar Stadium, But even that wasn't enough to save a franchise who admittedly was struggling to stay afloat.
"We are closing down the San Francisco Deltas," Helmick wrote. "As many of you have said, this journey that started in 2015 has the makings of a movie with character-defining struggles, heroic moments, painful defeats, and overcoming seemingly impossible hurdles all culminating in a dream come true on Sunday, November 12th when the SF Deltas were crowned the national champions after defeating the New York Cosmos — arguably the most storied brand in U.S. Soccer history. I’ll never forget the scene of thousands of fans storming the field. Now that the celebration has come to an end, players and coaches have been released from their contracts. We will not leave any loose ends and everybody will be paid what they’re owed for 2017 — including players, coaches, staff, partners and vendors."
In 32 league games, the Deltas amassed a 14-12-6 record and advanced to the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup tournament where they lost to the San Jose Earthquakes.
"In hindsight we have not been perfect," Helmick said. "Far from it. We have learned so much from this adventure and we will begin organizing our thoughts and learnings that led to us to make this decision. Our hope is to share them for the benefit of others who are interested in developing the sport here in San Francisco or in other cities. I firmly believe that via transparency and collaboration we can improve the sport we all love."
In response to the Deltas news, the NASL released the following statement: 'In San Francisco, it’s unfortunate that the Deltas’ business plans did not materialize in the way they had hoped. We remain a big believer in the market, as evidenced by the atmosphere and crowd at The Championship Final earlier this month, and we still believe that the city deserves a professional soccer team. We are in active discussions with potential ownership groups and we aim to keep professional soccer in San Francisco in the future."
The Deltas experiment is the latest to test the viability of professional soccer in San Francisco. Last Fall, another group fronted by Zappos.com founder NIck Swimurn -- San Francisco Football Club -- attempted to start a team using AT&T Park as its home stadium as part of the United Soccer League. The project and application was pulled.