Take a Look at the Record-Setting SJ Earthquakes

San Francisco Giants fans may not have noticed yet, but another Bay Area team is in the playoffs.

That team, the San Jose Earthquakes set a record Sunday… but not by having the best standings in Major League Soccer (though they got a Supporters Shield award for that) and not because striker Chris Wondolowski scored his 26th goal of the season (he needs one more to tie the previous record).

No, the Quakes set a world record by getting the most participants in a groundbreaking ceremony. The team organized 6,256 fans to begin digging foundations for the team’s new stadium on a site near the Norman Mineta San Jose International Airport.

An artist's conception of the planned new Earthquakes stadium. (Earthquakes)

Guinness Book of World Records officials were on hand to certify that all the fans dug for at least two minutes, says Frank Stranzl, spokesman for the team.

Here a video the team released of the event:

The stadium at 1125 Coleman Ave., San Jose, is near a Caltrain station and is planned as part of a development that will include restaurants, bars and other businesses.

Here is the location: View Larger Map

The Quakes are on  track to open the new 18,000-seat stadium in time for next season in March 2014. “The important thing is there are not going to be any empty seats,” Stranzl says.

He’s confident of that because the team already sold out a game against their arch rivals, the Los Angeles Galaxy, at the 50,000-seat Stanford Stadium on June 30. And it has consistently sold out its current venue, Buck Shaw Stadium at Santa Clara University.

The new Earthquakes stadium will be its first soccer-specific venue, but hardly the first for the league — all but two other teams (D.C. and New England) already have such ballparks, says Stanzl.

On a much shorter deadline, the team is hunting for stadium space because it’s looking quite possible that it will host the Major League Soccer Cup match Dec. 1. Stanford Stadium and San Jose State University’s Spartan Stadium (with a capacity of 30,000) are both possibilities, along with AT&T Ballpark.

And there are plenty of reasons to keep watching before then, according to Robert Jonas managing editor of Center Line Soccer. “They are a team that’s built for offense,” he told KQED’s Cy Musiker. “A high-flying team that gets out there and scores.”

The team has already sold out its first playoff game, which is scheduled as an away game on Nov. 3 or 4 depending on how potential opponents fare.

In the meantime, the Quakes have one last regular season game to play this Saturday Oct. 27 3:30 p.m. PDT. The game will be in Portland, but televised by NBC Sports. Although it won’t affect the Quakes’ trajectory into the playoffs, Stanzl makes the case that you should watch to see if Wondolowski, a native of Livermore, can tie the league’s record for goals in a season.

Here are Wondlolowsi’s exploits from September:

And Jonas argues that grabbing a ticket for future playoff games will be worthwhile for more reasons than one. “There are supporters that are going to be singing and chanting all the time. They provide a fabulous atmosphere to compliment what you’re going to see on the field. They often bring flags and banners and what they call tifo which are very large displays celebrating the team and the city and the accomplishments — something you don’t often see at other sporting events, but what makes soccer such a unique experience.”

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