Following on from the stunning news that broke on Thursday evening, as Major League Soccer purchased Chivas USA and are now lining up buyers to take on the Los Angeles franchise, there are still plenty of questions floating in the air.
When will the club be rebranded? Who will build a new stadium and where? How long will all this take? Will the team stay in L.A.?
The list goes on and on.
With MLS Commissioner Don Garber citing “executional issues” as the main reason Chivas USA didn’t work out during his conference call with reporters on Thursday, and then former owner Jorge Vergara stating “the concept did not work out” when asked, it’s pretty clear everyone has held their hands up in defeat as Chivas USA will be no more.
But that won’t be until the 2015 MLS season.
Garber confirmed to reporters that there will not be a rebranding of the team at any point during the 2014 MLS season, so right now Chivas USA are here to stay. He also confirmed the club will remain in L.A., that Stan Kroenke won’t be buying the club and in an open letter to Chivas’ fans, Garber said the following.
“In the coming months, the league will work to find a new ownership group that will establish a new vision and plan for the team, and will be committed to building a new stadium in Los Angeles. We have already had initial discussions with a number of very qualified potential owners and it is our intention to transition the team to a new owner sometime this year. The club will play as Chivas USA and will still call the StubHub Center its home during the 2014 MLS season. It will then be rebranded with a new team name and logo in connection with the sale to a new owner.”
That, along with head coach Wilmer Cabrera sticking around for the foreseeable future, gives the Goats some stability. Which seems crazy to say giving all of the uncertainty surrounding the current situation. But MLS has done what they needed to do, pull the plug on Chivas USA and start again.
As much as people wanted it to work, it just wasn’t going to happen, so a rebrand and rebuilding of L.A.’s second MLS franchise will be greeted with delight from soccer fans across the U.S. It also promises to be quite the season in 2015, as New York City FC, Orlando City and now a fresh new team in Los Angeles will add an extra dimension to the league.
I admire the time and effort the folks at MLS have put into Chivas and the former owners Vergara and Angelica Fuentes for trying to make it a success, but the right thing has been done, as a new lease of life for soccer in Southern California and the U.S. will benefit everyone.
Should the franchise stay in L.A.? I have my reservations about it. But if the right person or ownership group comes in, and MLS will make sure that happens this time, then L.A. II could work. Intrigued, relieved and cautiously optimistic would sum up my feelings on Chivas USA’s future right now. I get the feeling most of the U.S. soccer community feel the same.