Chivas USA owner Jorge Vergara held a press conference on Tuesday to discuss the future of his Major League Soccer Team and the event had a familiar feel to it, in part because many of the same messages he delivered on Tuesday were ones delivered by the team in years past.
Vergara recently took over sole ownership of Chivas USA, taking sole ownership of the club, and he insists he will be taking a more hands-on approach. He also cited a disconnect between Chivas USA and the team’s parent club, Chivas Guadalajara as the reason he decided to take over control of the MLS club.
“There was a divorce between Chivas USA and Chivas Mexico,” Vergara said. “They stopped using the resources and the knowledge that Chivas Mexico had to offer. One example is that I offered (Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez) to Preki for one season and he declined it saying that he wasn’t good enough.
“We believe in the project, we believe in MLS and we’re certain of the success the team will have in MLS and the league but the past few years have been unsuccessful,” Vergara added.
Vergara made it clear that Chivas USA will go back to its Latino roots.
“Considering that Chivas USA is a team of a mix of cultures; from Hispanic immigrants, Mexicans, Colombians, Salvadorans, etc. and we want to create a factor of success in the unity of cultures and identification with those cultures,” Vergara said. “We are going to recreate Chivas USA as an extension and success for Chivas fans in the United States.”
Vergara cited the team’s loss of a Latin influence as a factor in the team’s continued struggles.
“They [Chivas USA] tried to imitate the style of play from other MLS teams; they played more physical, the qualities of the US players and they forgot to use the technical advantage and speed of Hispanic players,” Vergara said. “We didn’t play like they do in the US, or Mexico and the failure of that is in this last season.”
Vergara clearly wants to cater to the Latinos in the greater Los Angeles area, but the club tried that same approach both on and off the field in its early years to very poor results. That reality, and also the reality that the track record of clubs run by leaders with little to no previous experience in MLS or American soccer is a very poor one.
One of the more interesting revelations made by Vergara on Tuesday was that Chivas USA continues to search for a home for a stadium in Los Angeles. He acknowledged that playing at Home Depot Center wasn’t working out for the club, and that a stadium in downtown Los Angeles was the club’s goal.
He also revealed that Chivas USA has been approached by several markets about potentially moving the team out of Los Angeles, but Vergara insists the Goats are staying put in the Los Angeles area.
‘There has been various cities that have offered us a home, specifically one in Texas,” Vergara said. “But it’s clear why we chose Los Angeles. In the beginning, we paid an extra fee to be in Los Angeles and that’s where we remain. This is where we have our fan base and we’re not moving. We have the advantage in Chivas USA of having many nationalities; we can promote players of other nationalities, which by the way, is already happening.
“Soccer wise, it’s simple,” Vergara added later. “ We need the team to perform on the field, play spectacularly and most importantly, get the wins, be the champion. Our goal is that in the next two years, we get to the MLS Cup final and grow from there.”
Chivas USA must still appoint a new head coach, and Chivas Guadalajara advisor Johan Cruyff will be closely involved in the selection process. All indications are that the team will hire a foreign coach.
What do you think Vergara’s comments? Think he is capable of turning Chivas USA into a winner, or do you think the Goats are doomed to fail?
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