Spoiler alert: Chivas USA isn’t coming to Santa Ana and the city hasn’t done anything to try and lure the team to relocate to Orange County in more than a year. City Hall officials continue to deny *any* activity to build a new stadium for the MLS franchise or refurbish Eddie West Stadium for a short term move while a new stadium is built. Chivas USA to Santa Ana is dead.
So Call Santa Ana Sentinel blogger Omar Avalos Gallego’s “Jason” for continuing reviving talk that a Chivas USA move to Santa Ana should happen for so many reasons. Avalos Gallegos also writes for the Soccer Newsday blog on Chivas and recently posted an explanation on the poor home attendance for the club compared with the solid road attendance — bearing in mind he never really addresses the average attendance in the “away” cities.
He writes, on May 24 this year: An ideal situation for Chivas has a stadium right in the middle of a town with the demographics that it tries to appeal to. That stadium has to be within a walking distance of that market. Carson, Calif., has a population of 91,714, of which 35,417 (39%) are Latino, according to the 2010 census, and so it is not the most ideal location.
Other hypothetical stadium locations for Chivas USA that have been mentioned are East Los Angeles College, in the City of Monterey Park, which has an Asian majority population of 48%. Pomona, Calif., seems pretty much out of the picture at this point, as no news has come of a possible move there. It has a population of 149,056 of which 71% is Latino, so a move there is understandable but not enough political will exists to move Chivas there. At least, nothing has surfaced recently.
Another city mentioned in the past is Santa Ana, south of Los Angeles proper, which has a population of 324,528 of which 78% is Latino. No city has been as openly proactive about housing Chivas as Santa Ana. A move there makes nothing but sense, especially when coupling this city with nearby Anaheim, which also has a population of over 300,000 and 53% of its population is Latino.
Chivas USA already has players from these 2 cities that have played for the club at different levels. Carlos Borja is from Anaheim, former Sueño MLS winner Jorge Villafaña is from there too and played in Santa Ana as a kid. Daniel Antúnez is from Santa Ana, and recent Sueño MLS winner Armando Flores, who plays in the Chivas USA Academy is also from Santa Ana.
But the notion that no other city has been as openly proactive about housing Chivas is flat out inaccurate. The city hasn’t had any real communications with Chivas USA is 15 months. What Avalos Gallegos wants is MLS pro soccer down the street from him so he can avoid spending on gas, paying $15 to park and then buying tickets. His other misperception is that pro soccer only appeals to Latinos. Soccer fans cross all manner of race, creeds and colors, plus ages and gender too. Chivas name problem with attendance won’t be improved by how Latino the city is that it decides to move to; attendance will get better when the team improves. They just fired their coach and are flirting with the bottom rung of the MLS ladder. I’d be happy to go see Chivas games if they were competitive. They really aren’t.
The argument Avalos continues to make is that Chivas is a home for local players. And while there are a couple of players from Anaheim and Santa Ana, that isn’t enough to draw a crowd. City officials are tired of telling us over and over again, the Chivas deal is dead. But Avalos Gallegos did write that the deal “was not off the table” while debating the figurative or literal meaning of his words without an explanation. We invite him to explain what he means, because Santa Ana City officials say any deal with the city and Chivas is dead.
So rest assured. No Chivas in Santa Ana unless its in a Scotch bottle.