The San Jose Earthquakes and Santa Clara County are exploring the possibility of building a massive 10-field soccer complex at the county fairgrounds for the professional club and the public to use, the club announced Tuesday.
The county approved an exclusive negotiating agreement with the Earthquakes, allowing both sides to explore leasing and management agreements.
"This is a major step towards our goal of having an elite training center and singular home for all of our teams," Earthquakes President Jared Shawlee said in a statement. "As part of our club ethos, we wanted to pursue an opportunity that not only provided a first-class complex for our professional and youth teams, but also to facilitate the development of the premier public-use youth and adult soccer facility in Northern California. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the County of Santa Clara that has a shared vision for those goals."
The sprawling complex would cover 34 acres of undeveloped land in the area of Umbarger and Monterey roads, according to the club.
Part of the complex would feature four soccer fields dedicated to the Earthquakes and their affiliate teams, the club said. At least three of those fields would be natural grass. The complex's six remaining fields, all turf, would be available to the public year-round. All 10 fields would have lights.
"We are so excited about the opportunity to have more places for children and families to play and be outside in such a healthy way," Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez said in a statement. "The Santa Clara County Fairgrounds will be open and available to our entire community. Once again the San Jose Earthquakes are investing in the community and the team with state-of-the-art fields and practice facilities."
The complex would also house a 35,000-40,000-square-foot training center for the Earthquakes, their affiliate team in MLS Next Pro and youth teams part of the Quakes Academy.
While the exclusive negotiating agreement is in place for the next 12 months, the club and the county will figure out potential project costs and revenues, iron out additional design and planning details, create a community engagement plan, and draft a proposed development agreement.
"We’re excited about this initial agreement with Earthquakes Soccer to develop a multi-use soccer complex at the Fairgrounds," Santa Clara County Chief Operating Officer Miguel Márquez, J.D. said in a statement. "This is another step to explore high-quality recreational opportunities at the Fairgrounds. The County wants to ensure everyone in our community, especially those in areas with limited outdoor recreational options, have the same opportunities to get outside and learn how to play the world’s most popular sport: soccer."