Berg, meanwhile, was choosing a team name. "I picked Earthquakes," he says, "and a lot of people grumbled because San Jose is not far from the San Andreas Fault, and earthquakes are not that funny around here. But it's a name you remember. Then Milan called me and said, 'Dick, you got me in a lot of trouble with that name, the San Jose Earthquakes. The owners don't like it. We have to change it.' "
Berg told Mandaric that he expected the complaint. "But it grabs you," he said. "And if we win, they won't care if we're called Earthquakes or whatever."
"They don't mind the Earthquakes part," Mandaric said sadly. "They don't like San Jose."
Mandaric and Berg eventually prevailed, and from the beginning, soccer in San Jose has been a tremendous success. The Quakes' average attendance of 15,700 is tops in the league, just ahead of Seattle. The other two teams in the division are Vancouver, which draws 11,000 fans a game, and Los Angeles, which lags with 5,000. "I drew up a list of 28 ways to get people to come out to see you play," says Berg. "No. 1, they will come out if they have talked to a player and feel they know him. No. 2, if they have talked to someone in the organization. No. 3 is to give someone, personally, some kind of handout about your game. It has to be eyeball to eyeball, personal."
The night before the Vancouver game, two of the Quakes' best players—Paul Child, a 21-year-old forward from England, and Archie Roboostoff, who, despite his Russian name, is a native-born American—demonstrated soccer techniques in a shopping center modestly described by the San Jose Chamber of Commerce as the biggest in the world. They were assisted by very pretty red-clad, miniskirted girls who are members of the Shakers, the dancing squad that promotes the Quakes.
"We don't get a farthing for this," Child said, "but it is a good thing. We know the people and they know us, not at all like it was for me a year ago in Atlanta, where we played before nobody."
Small children, usually dragging mothers and fathers behind them, stopped to watch and to ask for autographs. Berg has a family plan: for $7.50, a husband and wife and two children can come to a game.
At Spartan Stadium it was obvious that large numbers had taken advantage of Berg's plan. Tom Binford, the owner of a sales and manufacturing consulting company, was there with his wife and 9-year-old son, Tommy Jr., and a neighbor's son.
"Tommy has been playing soccer for two years," Binford said. "I got interested, and some of the players came to my Rotary Club meeting. Then, where else can you take your family for $7.50 for a whole night?"
The soccer was not top flight, but it will get better. Ivan Toplak, the coach of the Quakes, returned to the club after the World Cup competition in Germany, where he was first assistant to the head coach of the Yugoslav national team. He had also been head coach of the Yugoslav 23-and-under team. Emigrating to the U.S. was the result of long and painful deliberation.