Avaya Stadium Eyed for NWSL

Avaya Stadium opening

Given soccer’s widespread appeal in the Bay Area, some are wondering if San Jose and Avaya Stadium will eventually host NWSL action. 

Opening in 2015 for the San Jose Earthquakes, Avaya Stadium has already hosted some marquee matches, including this year’s MLS All-Star Game. Aside from being one of the newer venues in the MLS, Avaya Stadium is noted for its location in the midst of one of the United States’ most vibrant soccer scenes.

With Avaya Stadium having just be utilized for the NCAA women’s College Cup, some are wondering if the NWSL is in the facility’s future. It is already known that NWSL is considering expansion over the next several years, and that the West–particularly California–is one of the league’s top targets.

Certain factors remain in question. One is whether the Earthquakes owners would want to add an NWSL team to the mix, following the model that is seen in other NWSL organizations. San Jose may also have to show if it can distinguish itself among possible markets. More from the Santa Cruz Sentinel:

The Earthquakes are trying to build a seven-field community soccer facility at the Guadalupe Gardens that would serve as the team’s youth academy. Once the complex is completed, the team would have the infrastructure to house a women’s team or a lower-division men’s pro team, [Earthquakes president] Kaval said.

NWSL commissioner Jeff Plush knows all about the popularity of Bay Area women’s youth and college soccer.

“I have a lot of confidence in the marketplace,” he said this week. “Think of players who came through that corridor. It’s a burgeoning part of the country for our sport.”

The NWSL has also been tied to other California cities. Los Angeles FC was at one point believed to be interested in adding an NWSL franchise to its organization, and it has not been ruled that Sacramento will be a possibility down the road. NWSL commissioner Jeff Plush has previously stated that he would like to see the league, which played the 2016 season at 10 clubs, at 14 teams by 2020.

Photos courtesy San Jose Earthquakes.

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