San Jose Earthquakes & Tottenham Hotspurs Announce Partnership

ThomasSenior Writer IOctober 10, 2008

Okay, when I read this on, the first paragraph was this:

"It seems that whenever two soccer teams announce a partnership agreement, regardless of where it happens in the world, there are two guarantees: One is that there is a big press conference, and another is that it will never be heard from again."

I thought about that for a few minutes, and well, they're right. Real Salt Lake and Real Madrid—partners in name but not much more.

Chivas USA and Guadalajara—sure, they have the same owners, but that's about it.

Now, the latest MLS club to have a foreign partner are the San Jose Earthquakes and Tottenham Hotspur. And according to the two clubs, this partnership won't be in name only.

Paul Barber, executive director for Spurs said: "In various markets around the world, I think some clubs from Europe have gone in, played a game, left, picked up a big fee, and done a little bit of brand awareness. That's not our approach.

"We'd rather go to fewer places and strike larger, deeper partnerships that have got some longevity to them."

As proof of this partnership not just being for show, Spurs pointed to South Africa where they have a partnership with reigning champs, SuperSport United. There, youth coaches in South Africa have the ability to go to England to train and in turn, Spurs get to show their brand there.

Barber went on to say, "The payoff for us is that we get the first opportunity to look at some of the young talent that is emerging from Africa, and South Africa is seen as the gateway to the rest of Africa.

"So they're bringing in young boys from all over the continent and we get an opportunity to see them first hand. And it's the same here in the States.

"This isn't about taking the best talent in the States and exporting it to Europe. It's about helping teams in the U.S. develop talent faster and get it to a higher standard as quickly as possible."

San Jose's general manager, John Doyle said that the deal will include a jumpstart in the club's youth program and the construction of a training facility for both clubs. Sounds familiar doesn't it RSL?

Apparently, the connection between San Jose and Tottenham goes all the way back to the late 1980s. The sporting director for the Spurs, Damien Comolli, lived in San Francisco as a teen and became friends with Billy Beane, who was then the general manager of the Oakland Athletics.

The two friends then took the A's owner, Lew Wolfe, to the FIFA World Cup in 2006. Once Wolfe brought the Quakes back to San Jose, it was apparent that Spurs and the Quakes would soon hookup.

The question, though, is will the two clubs, especially San Jose, benefit from this? Other than training sessions, the only thing that both can take from this is a youth program.

What do you think? Is this a good partnership?