City of Champions: 2001, A San José Soccer Odyssey

City of Champions: 2001, A San José Soccer Odyssey

September 2011 – April 2012
San José City Hall

1st Floor Wing
200 East Santa Clara Street
San Jose, California

Soccer in San Jose
Credit: Mark Gray, 2011, Oil on canvas

Pro soccer in San José has a rich if unheralded history. In 2001, at the dawn of the new millenium, San José was for a shining moment the epicenter of America’s edition of the world’s favorite sport. San José boasted the most accomplished teams and the most celebrated players in the land. Never before or since has a single American community held at the same time both men’s and women’s pro trophies or been more deserving of the mantle, “City of Champions.” History San José’s exhibit commemorated the tenth anniversary of this enchanted moment in our sports history.

The exhibit’s primary sponsor was SSVCF, an all-volunteer charity comprised of San José Earthquakes fans with a variety of initiatives dedicated to building community through soccer. In the three years leading up to the exhibit, Quakes fans, working through SSVCF, donated thousands of artifacts – many rare and unique – to History San José, volunteered countless hours at the museum collection center cataloguing and photographing them, and raised tens of thousands of dollars to underwrite this exhibit and a future permanent display in the anticipated Earthquakes stadium at the former FMC site by the airport.

Brandi Chastain, who serves on SSVCF’s advisory board, loaned for the exhibit her sports bra, first revealed when she removed her jersey after scoring the winning penalty kick in the 1999 Women’s World Cup final. Also on display was Chastain’s game-worn jersey from when she starred for the Bay Area CyberRays women’s pro team, which won the national WUSA championship in 2001 while playing home games at San José’s Spartan Stadium.

Spartan Stadium was also the site of the first ever game in Major League Soccer (MLS) history, won by San José. The first ball ever kicked in that game was on display along with the jersey won by Eric Wynalda while scoring the league’s first ever goal. Among other unique items, the MLS trophy won by the San José Earthquakes in 2001 was seen along with the jersey worn and medal won by Quakes rookie Landon Donovan, perhaps the greatest male soccer player ever produced in the United States.

Exhibit Press