Dragons are leaving Kezar, heading to ‘warmer’ San Jose

Following in the footsteps of the 49ers’ plans, San Francisco’s Major League Lacrosse team is headed to the South Bay.

The Dragons announced Wednesday they are moving to San Jose and will play at Spartan Stadium beginning with next season.

“San Francisco is a fine home for the Dragons, but it was not quite a fine home for our fans,” Dragons president Hank Molloy said. “The weather in San Francisco, as chronicled by Mark Twain, can be a bit of a trial. San Jose provides a warmer welcome.”

For now, the team will still be called the San Francisco Dragons.

“We will be the San Francisco Dragons at Spartan Stadium,” said Molloy, who wouldn’t rule out a name change in the future. “[But] we also think the San Francisco name has a regional identity for Northern California.”

The Dragons played two seasons at Kezar Stadium after joining the MLL in 2006 as one of the Western Conference expansion teams. This summer they recorded a 3-3 record there, in front of a season average 3,125 fans — below the league average of 4,429.

Molloy said Spartan Stadium “is the answer to what our fans have been seeking,” adding that lacrosse fans prefer being closer to the field.

At stadiums such as Kezar, a running track separates the spectators up to 50 yards from the action.

“That’s not the case in Spartan Stadium,” said Molloy, who hopes to see attendances of over 10,000 in San Jose. “We’re right on top of the action.”

San Jose Mayor ChuckReed said he is happy to have the Dragons in the South Bay, even if they haven’t embraced his city’s name.

“We don’t care what they’re called,” he said.

Kezar Stadium has now lost two professional sports tenants in a single week. On Nov. 28, United Soccer Leagues announced that the California Victory would not return in 2008.

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