A charter member of the MLS, the San Jose Earthquakes played their first four seasons as the Clash before claiming the MLS Cup in 2001 and 2003. Though the team moved to Houston in '05, the franchise was reinstated in '08, bringing professional soccer back to the Bay Area. Buck Shaw Stadium serves as the team's current home, though a new stadium will shoot skyward in 2014, complete with luxury suites for fans and exhausted referees alike.
Like a perfectly broken-in glove or a lucky bat, RD Academy stays with ballplayers for years and years. It also plays an important role in a ballplayer's development.
When Santa Clara University head baseball coach Dan O'Brien founded the academy, he didn't design it for just one age group, but instead as a resource that players can turn to from the moment they pick up a ball to the moment they have to pick out a college. The academy's youth camps, for instance, emphasize the game's fundamentals to kids aged 7–13. When the time comes to move up to the next level, the academy organizes high school showcases, where ballplayers can impress college coaches without hurling a fastball through their bedroom window, and then immediately repairing the window.
After an eye injury took boxing and martial-arts champion Eddie Croft out of the ring, he set himself a new goal: becoming the first person to train a boxing, kickboxing, and mixed-martial-arts champion. Having already trained a world kickboxing champion and five San Francisco Golden Gloves winners, he is well on his way.
Croft plies his trade at B Street Boxing, where his team of instructors teaches professionals and amateurs the arts of boxing, muay thai, kickboxing, Brazilian jiujitsu, and tae kwon do. In the red, white, and blue ring of B Street Boxing’s gym, students jab and spar, practice their skills on punching bags, or check their form in a mirrored wall. Conditioning and boot-camp sessions also keep students from all backgrounds fit while imparting dedication, discipline, and the desire to wear boxing gloves even in the shower.
Rich Taylor and George Silvey run San Jose Batting Cages camps. In fact, running baseball and softball camps is what these two have been doing for more than 30 years. Rich has spent more than 35 years developing Little League and D1 players at Pepperdine University, which is where he coached three All Americans. Twenty of his players signed professional contracts during his tenure as a pitching coach. George has more than 40 years of coaching experience and is the current Varsity Softball Pitching and Assistant Head Coach for Los Gatos High School. With a relentless focus on practice, San Jose Batting Cages lets players improve their hitting, pitching, defense, and all-around game to better prepare for their next outing on the diamond.
Whether working through in-season regimens or off-season training, baseball and softball players can perfect their swing within San Jose Batting Cages' batting cages and training facility, which stays open until 9 p.m. during the week. Instructors offer hitting and pitching lessons as well as team and group clinics to help athletes develop all aspects of their game.
For the better part of a century, Spartan Stadium has been a cornerstone of San Jose State athletics and university life, hosting more than 300 home football games since 1933, as well as soccer games and concerts packed with more than 30,000 fans. Open during home football games, the Jeff Garcia Hall of Champions pays tribute to more than 300 former athletes and coaches, including pro football stars, golfers, and judo experts. Beyond the football team's keep, the other bastion of SJSU athletics, the Event Center, opened its doors in the late '80s to house men's and women's basketball contests as well as a weight room for students and a take-a-foam-finger, leave-a-foam-finger depository for fans. Spartan athletics maintains a high pedigree throughout their programs, including recent WAC championships for their men's and women's golf teams.
The extensive facilities of MVP Arena, which include indoor and outdoor fields, a basketball court, and batting cages, host visitors for an array of sports leagues and classes. Adults hone their skills in training classes and then unveil new maneuvers on one another during league games for basketball, flag football, and soccer. Bat wielders practice swing timing and charging the mound without fear of retaliation in the batting cages, where regulation pitching distance and a mural of the San Francisco Bay recreate the excitement of practicing in a big-league stadium. In addition, three of the cages feature virtual pitchers that help batters time ball delivery at different speeds or a random assortment of slow, medium, and fast.