SAN JOSE -- The opening of the Earthquakes' new soccer stadium has been delayed until the second half of the 2014 season because of excavation issues at the construction site, the team announced Monday.
Builders encountered concrete vaults deeper than expected and will need more time to prepare the site before the privately financed, 18,000-seat stadium can be erected, team president Dave Kaval said. The $60-million stadium will be located across the street from Mineta San Jose International Airport.
As a result, the Earthquakes will play eight home games at Buck Shaw Stadium, one at Stanford and nine in the new building. The opening date is unknown because Major League Soccer has not figured out how it will schedule games next year around the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Team officials had planned to open the stadium at the start of the season, but "there was just no way to do that," Kaval said. "It became obvious to us over the last couple of weeks that the original time won't work."
Construction crews uncovered numerous vaults, used munitions from the FMC factory that was once located there, steel beams and concrete pilings. The crews also had to drain the excavated vaults because of a high water table at the site.
"We have encountered incredibly difficult unforeseen conditions," Devcon Construction executive Peter Copriviza said in a statement. "With foundations over 10 feet deep, drilled piers, unexpected underground chambers, we have been presented with a series of challenges during both the demolition and grading process."
The Earthquakes decided to play their first eight home games at Buck Shaw to avoid a scenario in which they opened the season on the road while waiting for the stadium to be ready.
"We wanted to preserve the competitive nature of the season as a way to win the championship and not to just give it away to get more revenue dates in the new venue," Kaval said.
The Quakes' executive said the team will need to figure out some of the seating arrangements for season-ticket holders at Santa Clara University.
According to an email sent to fans, the team also will make a price adjustment because of the change and delay the payment deadline for season tickets by four months.
Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865 and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.