SAN JOSE, California — The San Jose Earthquakes know they have one of the snazziest new soccer stadiums around, and now they're gearing up to show it off for all of Major League Soccer to see.
State-of-the-art Avaya Stadium will host the 2016 Major League Soccer All-Star Game, MLS Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott said Thursday at the stadium.
"It's world-class, it's spectacular and the whole world's going to get to see it," Abbott said. The game and a related weeklong soccer fest will be in late July next year.
Commissioner Don Garber didn't attend the news conference with no reason given by MLS.
Avaya, an 18,000-seat soccer-specific stadium, just hosted the U.S. women's World Cup team's win against Ireland on May 10. Club America will face the Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium on July 14 in the International Champions Cup.
"This is a super exciting day for San Jose, for the Earthquakes," Earthquakes President Dave Kaval said. "People know it's a great venue to watch soccer. ... People in the Bay Area and San Jose love soccer, so I think people are going to turn out in droves. I think it's going to have great energy and it's going to be a celebration of not only the Earthquakes and what we've done here with Avaya Stadium but of soccer broadly and where it stands."
The franchise broke ground on the privately funded, $100 million stadium in October 2012, and it is known for its technological capabilities — not to mention other unique elements such as boasting the largest outdoor bar in North America behind one goal and food truck options for concessions with an expansive grassy area for kids to play or watch a game on the huge video board.
The seats are also three different shades of blue with a few red ones mixed in to honor the colors of past Bay Area soccer teams. The pattern is a code and whoever figures it out first will win two tickets to the 2018 World Cup.
The steep seating provides an increased noise level and keeps fans closer to the action. There is also an all-standing section behind one goal.
While the capacity is 18,000, Kaval said consideration might be given — with more than a year to prepare — to bringing in temporary seats to bring the crowd to about 20,000 without taking away from the fan experience.
"It's like going to Disneyland, people come here, they're happy, they have a good time," he said. "That's the No. 1 thing."