Fellow CSUF Titan Scott French, a soccer writer for ESPN and Major League Soccer, recently wrote the most insightful and comprehensive article concerning a Chivas USA move to some location in the Los Angeles area. The article lists a number of cities of which Santa Ana is one. As we well know, Santa Ana started talking with Chivas as far back as 2007. Talks stopped in 2011, due to the fact that neither our mayor Miguel Pulido nor Chivas USA co-owner Antonio Cue made concessions.
Mayor Pulido told me about a year ago that the problem in getting a negotiation done was Antonio Cue’s stance that the city had to pay for whatever possible reconfigurations would have to be done to Santa Ana Stadium. We can deduce that this is what the mayor meant when he said that “The stadium was off the table,” as Voice of OC writer Adam Elmahrek once wrote. What Elmahrek conveniently left out was the all important why? Why was the stadium thrown off the table? We know that the downtown stadium was mentioned as a temporary site until a new stadium could be built at Willowick golf course, and again, we can deduce that Chivas required that we pay for remodeling our municipal stadium and the mayor refused.
Kudos to Pulido.
We can substantiate what Pulido told me by looking at this insightful article published in the Inland Valley’s Daily Bulletin, in which Pomona’s redevelopment director Raymond Fong said that “Chivas was looking for significant local assistance.”
The Santa Ana area, including Anaheim, is an attractive part of the LA region because of the Latino demographics within these two combined cities. Chivas obviously doesn’t want to ignore this segment and that’s why there are Chivas players from Santa Ana and Anaheim within their ranks. But Chivas also doesn’t want to ignore the important demographic of the Los Angeles east side including Montebello, Bell Gardens etc and other areas. So they may have to compromise two satisfy the East LA and Santa Ana ends of the LA region. And that puts them at: Cerritos.
Other options for Chivas
MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Chivas full owner Jorge Vergara have been talking to USC about possibly tearing down the Sports Arena at Expo Park, which USC now controls, to build a stadium for Chivas there. Garber strikes me as the type that wants the highest-profile project possible, and that’s why Expo Park is their first choice. That’s also why he opted on selling the new New York City MLS franchise to the owners of the Yankees and Manchester City for a hefty $100 million instead of helping the New York Cosmos join MLS. Oh, and NYC FC? They don’t have a stadium deal going as a required for new MLS franchises, which goes against what Garber has been pontificating.
The whole turnover of Expo Park to USC is littered with snags and scandals. I don’t see anything happening for Chivas there until the Coliseum Commission, which used to control Expo Park, is found not guilty of any wrongdoing. But just yesterday, the LA Times reported that the head of the Coliseum Commission testified falsely in some matter.
Other areas mentioned are East LA College, Cerritos College and Titan Stadium at Cal State Fullerton. The problem with East LA and Cerritos is that their fields are surrounded by oplympic-style tracks. That would require significant investment to renovate either field. And East LA College is state property, which means more snags for Chivas.
It looks more and more like Cerritos and Fullerton are better options for Chivas. Fullerton’s stadium doesn’t require much alteration but that’s assuming that CSUF even wants Chivas there. But Cerritos, when you look at the map, is right in the middle of the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana metropolitan statistical area designation. It’s close to, and in the middle of, the two largest Mexican-American concentrations of people in the LA east side and the central Orange County region with Santa Ana and Anaheim combined.
Cerritos turns out to look like a very sensible option but significant money and political will are required, wherever Chivas and Vergara decide to go. The folks at East LA College gave a $50 million dollar figure to renovate their stadium and called it a bargain, but they aren’t paying for it.
The path is clear. Vergara has to spend the money. They wanted Chivas in the U.S., they have to house them, not local municipalities.
Scott French mentioned Santa Ana’s downtown stadium as a possibility but overlooked an important detail: Willowick Golf Course. The course was always mentioned as a final destination, as a place where a stadium could be built. What are some advantages to building there? You don’t have to convince local community college districts to part with their olympic track fields. Instead, you build from scratch. The drawback? It’ll cost more but you can build something state of the art from nothing like Houston, Kansas City, Salt Lake, and others have done.
Those of us in Santa Ana that have debated the Chivas issue completely overlooked Centennial Park also. That area makes as much sense if not more than Willowick because there already is a city-owned soccer complex there with upwards of four or five fields. And there’s room behind the fields to build. Who owns that land is not clear. And there’s a small artificial lake near the last fields that’s never used. You might as well fill that up. Some of us have seen what the lakes look like at Centennial, so why not?
To Jorge Vergara, there’s no way around it. Spend the money, wherever you decide to go.
And no, it’s not the kind in a bottle to clear that up.
But it’s not the first team, that is, the Major League Soccer squad. So worry not, NIMBYS, Downtown Inc lackeys, cybertrolls, cyberbullies, etc, etc, etc.
Instead, we’ll see a newly-formed Orange County branch of the Chivas USA Youth Academy, presided by first team Chivas USA player Jorge Villafaña, who is the first ever Sueño MLS Winner. As some of you may know Villafaña was born in Anaheim and played in Santa Ana growing up.
The Chivas USA Orange County Academy is set to kickoff its inaugural season in the CalSouth league at Santa Ana Stadium on September 6. In preparation for the season, Chivas USA held a preseason match on Tuesday night, August 27th at Santa Ana Stadium, against a local squad Pumas Santa Ana.
Also, along these lines, your local boy (yours truly) will begin contributing Chivas game previews to The Guardian, starting this Friday morning. Yes, The Guardian. Of England. Of Manchester. Of London. Of Planet Earth.
AND, do not, do not miss the latest What the Flock?! podcast where yours truly chimes in on all matters of the Chivas Nation (Chivas Guadalajara + Chivas USA).
Until next time.
The Goat Parade is the top independent source for all things Chivas USA, and one of the longest-running. TGP delivers more news with more frequency including game previews, reviews, coverage of the Chivas Academy, a podcast through a partnership with the What the Flock?, and more.
My thanks to Alicia Rodríguez, managing editor of The Goat Parade and freelance editor to Major League Soccer for allowing me this opportunity.
In my first contribution, I go over the political situation at Exposition Park in Los Angeles to get a sense of how feasible building a stadium for Chivas there is, or what has to happen in order for a stadium to become reality.
Chivatown Post: Los Angeles politics and the future of the stadium edition sbn.to/111iT7t
— The Goat Parade (@TheGoatParade) June 9, 2013
Update: Santa Ana’s Armando Flores and the Chivas USA Reserves came back from a 3-0 deficit in Vancouver to leave things tied 3-3. Flores played 70 minutes before being substituted off for Brian Kennedy.
— Chivas USA (@cdchivasusa) June 5, 2013
Armando Flores of Santa Ana Valley High School, a Sueño MLS Winner, has been invited to join the Chivas USA reserve team as they head to Vancouver, British Columbia to take on the Whitecaps in Major League Soccer Reserve League play today at 11 am.
Live game updates will be available on twitter @cdchivasusa.
“Mambo” Flores will join other Chivas USA players with first team experience. The joining of Chivas Academy players with Chivas Reserves is part of a professional development process. The Reserve league is the link between the Academy and the First Team.
A game recap will be posted this afternoon.
Santa Ana’s Sueño MLS Winner, Armando Flores, nets another goal.
CD Chivas USA informs:
It was a positive weekend for Chivas USA’s U15/16, U17/18 and U14 teams. All three Red-and-White youth teams were able to earn huge victories, extending their respective unbeaten streaks.
Chivas USA’s U15/16 team took a 4-2 win over Real Salt Lake AZ U15/16 on Saturday at Mt. San Antonio College. A hat trick by Jorge Ruiz and a single goal by Ryo Fujii gave the young Goats the ultimate win. Ruiz was able to open the scoreboard in the 8th minute of the match. RSL AZ came back a two minutes later and notched the equalizer for the Arizona team.
Before halftime, Ruiz scored his second of the match and Fujii notched his own. Ruiz came back into the second half and scored early on, but it was not enough for the Goats’ rival. With this weekend’s hat trick, Ruiz has scored 16 goals with the U15/16’s in the 2012/2013 season and at least one goal per game since March 16.
After Saturday’s victory, Chivas USA’s U15/16 team stands firm in first place of the Southwest Division in U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy. The young Goats have also moved up in the playoff berths; the U15/16 moved up two spots to number six, being the team with the top seed in the Western Conference.
Also securing their spot in the USSDA playoffs is Chivas USA’s U17/18 squad. On Saturday, the Red-and-White Academy team earned a 3-2 win over Real Salt Lake AZ U17/18 team. Unsurprisingly, Caleb Calvert, who joined the First Team for training last week, notched the first goal for the Goats, followed by two more goals by SueñoMLS winner Armando Flores and Mario Ortiz. The U17/18 team currently sits in fifth place of the Southwest Division but is securing a spot in the wildcard pool for the USSDA playoffs as the 11th team.
Up next, Chivas USA’s U15/16 & U17/18 teams will match-up against Real So Cal on Saturday, May 11 at Mt. San Antonio College.
And just on the heels of the Galaxy’s marketing efforts in Santa Ana, Chivas USA returns to the Santa Ana area to market this weekend’s game against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Edgar Mejía, who is on loan this season from Chivas de Guadalajara, and Anaheim native Carlos Borja will be in person at Super A’s restaurant at 2949 Fairview Rd in Costa Mesa this Thursday April, 25th. The players will be there from 6 to 7:30 pm signing autographs, handing out jerseys, and giving out tickets to this weekend’s game to the first 50 people in attendance.
Chivas USA has done a number of outreach efforts in the past in Santa Ana proper and the surrounding area. They marketed last year at MainPlace mall with a soccer clinic for kids and at Centennial Park in a 4 versus 4 soccer event called the Battle of LA.
They commonly host Santa Ana youth teams at their games at the Home Depot Center.
Further back in time (during the days of Jonathan Bornstein around 2006 or 2007) they held a training session at Santa Ana Stadium.
More info at www.cdchivasusa.com
Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy has made a significant marketing blitz in Santa Ana in the last month. They bought at least two billboards, one on Harbor and 17th streets and another on Bristol and Alton, and they bought adds on Santa Ana Blvd and other OCTA bus routes.
Adding to that is the connection made with the Santa Ana Police Athletic & Activities League, which took a group of kids to see the Galaxy play Sporting Kansas City this last weekend at the Home Depot Center. It’s unclear if the SAPAAL reached out to the Galaxy or vice versa.
This isn’t the first time that the Galaxy and the league have marketed in Santa Ana. In 2011 the Galaxy, representing MLS and their owner AEG, bought advertisements for the MLS Cup Final at Westfield Mainplace Mall.
They get Santa Ana’s soccer market potential and take it seriously, mostly because of talks that Chivas USA has had with Santa Ana in the past. The Galaxy only started marketing on as large of a scale, here, after Chivas flirted with the idea of moving to Santa Ana.
Still, the Galaxy can throw as much money as they want at Santa Ana, but long-gone are the days of Mexican Galaxy players Luis Hernández and Jorge Campos. Santa Ana is more an Hernández and Campos town obviously and let’s not kid ourselves.
Chivas has at least three players that grew up or played in Santa Ana leagues. This year we had a Santa Ana native, Daniel Antúnez, play for the first team. But sadly, he’ll be out for months due to a knee injury suffered two weeks ago.
Jorge Villafaña, a former Sueño MLS Winner, is from Anaheim and played in Santa Ana as a kid.
Armando Flores, a more current Sueño MLS Winner, is from Santa Ana and Valley High School, and he plays for the Chivas Under 18 Academy. He may rise to the professional ranks within two years.
Chivas defender Carlos Borja is from nearby Anaheim, and that is more than the Galaxy can say.
These are the types of real inroads that the Galaxy has to make with a community like Santa Ana, but their marketing blitz is a rush to fill a vacuum, a scramble for dollars. We in Santa Ana can get used to seeing more of our kids, our products, become professionals through Chivas. At least that pattern is established and some are getting breaks. That’s not the case with the Galaxy.
Chivas owner Jorge Vergara needs to understand the importance of the Santa Ana soccer market and take it as seriously as the Galaxy has been doing lately. Although he wants to field a team in Los Angeles proper, those hopes are dependent on whether or not USC decides to demolish the Sports Arena and build a soccer stadium there, or whether or not USC sells all of that land and the Arena to Vergara, which would be a costlier fix for him.
Even if USC sells all of that land to Vergara, I don’t see a deal of that scale closing by the end of 2014. It’s said that Chivas USA’s lease at the Stub Hub Center (former Home Depot Center) ends in 2014.
In the meantime there was a place–the only place–that was openly proactive about bringing Chivas USA, and that place is Santa Ana. There is, undoubtedly, an important soccer market in Santa Ana, all that is needed is a city council brave enough to make Santa Ana a top-flight soccer town by housing a pro team here.
Santa Ana’s Sueño MLS Winner Armando Flores returns to the greater Santa Ana area this Saturday in a game pitting the Chivas USA Under 17/18 Youth team against the Irvine Strikers U17/18s at Orange Coast College at 10 am.
The Chivas USA U17/18s currently sit in 6th place in the West Conference of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy League with a record of 10-8-5 (W-L-T).
Later that day at 12:30
The Chivas USA U15/16s face the Irvine Strikers U15/16s also at OCC. Chivas USA’s U15/16s are in first place in the West Conference of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy League with a record of 15-3-5.
Keep up with real time game updates at Twitter.
I’d like to thank Herb Scribner, Collegiate Correspondent at USA Today and Editor of Soccer Newsday for reaching out and allowing me this opportunity.
Oh, but I’ll still be chiming in on all things Santa Ana. This blog is here to stay until or if I ever decide to relaunch or rebrand.
Go to Chivas Nation at SoccerNewsday.com for reviews and developments. Psst, remember when Chivas was testing the possibility of moving to Santa Ana? Well that is, in fact, NOT off the table.
I’m kicking things off this weekend with coverage of the Chivas USA – FC Dallas game this Sunday. Game time is 2 pm. The game will be televised on UniMás and online with a seasonal or monthly subscription to MLS Live.
This is your Santa Ana Chivas USA Insider signing off.
Armando Flores, Santa Ana’s Sueño MLS Winner, scored for the Goats in San Diego last weekend helping his team improve to 8-5-5.
Alicia Ratteree of The Goat Parade, in her weekly roundup of the Chivas U16 and U18 Academy teams reports:
Meantime, the U18s beat Nomads U18s by the comparatively pedestrian 4-0 margin. Romario Lomeli opened the scoring in the 20th minute, followed up by a score from Ever Delatorre in the 42nd minute. Nomads had an own goal in the 53rd minute, and Armando Flores (former “Sueño” winner, and no, I don’t mean Jorge Villafana) notched a goal of his own in the 72nd minute. The win leaves them in 5th place in their division, two points within Strikers – they are making up ground, but still have some ground to cover in the homestretch of the season. Still, a good result for them!