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.
[cnn-large-image image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2013/images/06/28/neymar.blogcrop.jpg caption=”Neymar has scored three superb goals during the Confederations Cup. (Getty Images).”]
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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.
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.
UPDATE 4/3/2013: And faster than Lindsay Lohan’s next probation violation, the “Spartans” have changed their name, again, to reflect the youth club they’ve partnered with: Pateadores. The club has removed their twitter handle @OCSpartansFC and replaced it with @OCPateadores.
The former Fullerton Rangers soccer club of the NPSL, who used to be the Santa Ana Winds FC also of the NPSL, has changed their name yet again, this time to the “OC Spartans FC” in an attempt to bank on “the OC” brand.
The “Fullerton” branding endeavor was a flop, as they attempted to partner with the reputable Fullerton Rangers Youth Academy and use their name, but they played their games at Santa Ana Stadium.
This time around “OC Spartans FC” is partnering with the Pateadores youth soccer club, that plays its home games at Orange Coast College.
The “Spartans” will play another season at Santa Ana Stadium in the NPSL.
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.