Santa Ana Winds FC rebrands and moves to Fullerton, sort of
The Santa Ana Winds of the National Premier Soccer League rebranded themselves as the Fullerton Rangers for the upcoming 2012 NPSL season. The rationale behind the move is the opportunity to tap into the young talent pool of the reputable Fullerton Rangers academy. The Fullerton Rangers U-15 squad recently won the Dallas Cup, which is a well-known international youth tournament.
The challenge for the Fullerton Rangers pro side is solidifying Fullerton as their home, it seems. Their first match for the 2012 season will be held at Santa Ana Stadium against FC Hasental. It’s unclear whether the Rangers will face scheduling conflicts at Cal State Fullerton’s Titan Stadium, where they’re supposed to play, with another new pro side, the LA Blues of the USL PRO league.
The former Santa Ana Winds FC went the route of the Orange County Blue Star, a club that never really established itself firmly and truthfully in Santa Ana. It was an ill-fated project to begin with due to the lack of a well-planned vertical structure combining a youth academy and a professional side using one brand. The ownership wasn’t all that well established or identified with Santa Ana either apparently. The project overall was seemingly an attempt to capitalize on the Santa Ana soccer market, one coveted by some pro clubs and still an option for a potential Chivas USA relocation, but it was never a product of here. It never had Santa Ana grassroots.