By Len Ramirez

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — The San Jose Earthquakes have been kicking around the South Bay since the 1970’s, but now they finally have a home – Avaya Stadium, the Bay Area’s first soccer-specific facility.

“I think what we can do here is really show a permanence that the community can really rally behind,” said Earthquakes President Dave Kaval. “We can create a fan experience and connect it to soccer in a way you really can’t do in someone else’s stadium.

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Avaya Stadium is modeled after the intimate club stadiums of old Europe. But it has the sort of modern amenities American sports fans have come to expect, like connectivity.

Santa Clara networking and cloud solution provider Avaya secured naming rights to the stadium and will have fans hooked up with high speed Wi-Fi access points throughout the stadium.

“That will help power our app that we will launch on March 22nd,” said Earthquakes spokesman Jed Mettee. ”The app will have virtual tickets, virtual parking, maps of the stadium.”

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Speaking of parking, it’s pricey at $25-40, but there are acres and acres right next to the stadium, which is situated right next to Mineta San Jose International Airport.

Free shuttle will take fans from the Santa Clara Caltrain station and regular fare shuttles from downtown San Jose.

Kaval says with capacity at 18,000, it’s smaller than the Bay Area’s other outdoor stadiums, but every fan will be closer to the action – and it may be just as loud.

“The stadium is designed with the roof and the steep rake to concentrate the sound down on the field,” said Kaval. “The nice thing about that is it’s going to be a huge home-field advantage for our team.”

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Avaya Stadium’s will hold a “soft open” this Saturday, with a preseason game against arch rival Los Angeles Galaxy, limiting the attendance to 10,000 – mostly season ticket holders. The inaugural regular season game will be held March 22 against the Chicago Fire and is sold out.