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Paypal Park

Sports History in San Jose

San Jose has a rich sports history and is the home to many athletes, fans and sports teams including the Sharks hockey team, Earthquakes soccer club and Giants minor league baseball.

Olympic Black Power Statue, San Jose State University

Several athletes and Olympians have called San Jose home. John Carlos and Tommy Smith, two San Jose State University athletes, made history with their famous black power salute in the 1968 Olympics – now honored with a statue on the SJSU campus. Other athletes with San Jose ties include World Cup soccer player Brandi Chastain and figure skaters Kristi Yamaguchi and Polina Edmunds, basketball player Aaron Gordon, and the late notable football coach Bill Walsh. In more non-conventional sports, the hot dog eating contest champs Joey Chestnut and Matt Stonie are San Jose hometown heroes.


The first Earthquakes soccer franchise played fourteen seasons in San Jose before being sold in 1988. San Jose then housed the Clash at Spartan Stadium starting in 1996. MLS renamed the Clash as the Earthquakes in 1999. The team then moved to Houston in 2005 and San Jose started a new team from scratch, returning to the league in 2008 and currently play at Avaya Stadium. In addition to being home of the Earthquakes, Paypal Park has hosted the USA men’s and women’s national teams for qualifying games and friendly matches against international clubs.


The Sharks found their way to San Jose in 1990. After the California Golden Seals franchise left Oakland in 1976, Northern California was ready for hockey to return to the Bay Area. You can visit the exact table at House of Pizza where a group of hockey advocates planned to bid for the NHL team to find a home in San Jose. The Sharks have put San Jose on the map as a growing hockey town and has become a heavy influence on local culture. In 2015, San Jose became the home of the Barracuda, the Sharks’ minor league affiliate.

The "Shark Tank" at SAP Center (Photo Credit: 111th Aerial Photography Squadron)

San Jose has housed many minor league baseball teams including the Bees, Missions and Expos. Currently, the San Jose Giants minor league team will give you an inside look at the next all-star players headed to the big-league San Francisco Giants. Notable San Jose Giants alum include Madison Bumgarner, Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey and Tim Lincecum.

San Jose Giants Excite Ballpark (Photo credit: Tim Cattera)

San Jose has been a host city and partner in promoting several sporting events including Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, NCAA basketball games the College Football National Championships, NHL All-Star Game and Super Bowl 50.