As football becomes ever more cutthroat and profit-driven, brand exposure has developed into a prominent aspect of the business. Clubs can take different approaches. Some clubs sign players from specific markets or partner with existing teams in certain parts of the globe to increase their profile. Then there’s the case of Jorge Vergara. In 2005 he launched an entirely new franchise, Chivas USA, to turn Guadalajara giants Chivas from a regional powerhouse into a global phenom.
The Vision Of Chivas USA
Jorge Vergara wanted to capitalize on the existing Mexican community in Southern California and the United States at large. So Vergara, Antonio Cue, and his brother Lorenzo based their new club in Carson, just south of downtown Los Angeles. Sharing a stadium and facilities with the LA Galaxy, Chivas USA aimed to overtake its more illustrious neighbor in terms of stature eventually. Upon entering the league in 2004, the club was the eleventh team.
It didn’t quite work out that way, however. A terrible inaugural season as head coach Thomas Rongen didn’t make it through the year. Chivas USA finished at the bottom of the standings. This result threatened to set the tone for what was to come. Indeed, the Chivas project is regarded mainly as an unmitigated disaster nowadays, but in reality, the Goats were quite successful for a while.
The Glory Years
In the club’s sophomore campaign, head coach Bob Bradley was brought in to steady the ship. He led Chivas USA into the playoffs. He was named MLS Coach of the Year, and earned the head coaching gig of the US men’s national team. His assistant, MLS legend Preki, took over and even eclipsed Bradley’s achievements.
Under Preki’s stewardship, the Goats finished top of the Western Conference in 2007 and missed out on the Supporters’ Shield by only two points. Chivas USA made the playoffs every year between 2006 and 2009, serving as a springboard for future national team players like goalkeeper Brad Guzan, Sacha Kljestan, and Jonathan Bornstein. However, after 2009, things began to unravel.
What Happened To Chivas USA
With results turning sour and attendances dwindling, Jorge Vergara bought out the Cue brothers and became the club’s sole owner. But the eccentric businessman soon took on the role of a pariah. The much-needed investment wasn’t forthcoming. After a discrimination lawsuit had been leveled at Vergara, the club was a sinking ship. Following the 2014 season, Chivas USA ceased operations.
Major League Soccer (MLS) acquired the franchise from Jorge Vergara for $70 million and awarded its rights to an LA-based investor group. In 2018, Los Angeles FC played its debut season. LA once again boasts two MLS teams. It’s become one of the fiercest rivalries in the league. But the fate of Chivas USA will always act as a cautionary tale for any new expansion club.
With a red-and-white striped shirt, blue shorts, and blue socks, the new international brand wore the same uniform as its parent club, Guadalajara. Throughout its short history, the team wore variations in trim, stripe width, and a number of stripes, as well as a dark blue away uniform.
The club badge resembled that of Guadalajara but lacked the stars outside the logo that represent Guadalajara’s league titles.
Chivas USA Stats
Full Name: Club Deportivo Chivas USA
Nickname: The Goats or Los Rojiblancos (The Red-and-Whites)
- 2007: Supporters’ Shield (Runners-Up)
- 2007: MLS Western Conference Winners
- Record Games: Dan Kennedy (144)
- Record Goals: Ante Razov (30)
- Most Goals In A Season: Erick Torres (15)
- Record Assists: Sacha Kljestan (33)
- Record clean sheets: Dan Kennedy (28)
- 2005: 17,080 / missed playoffs
- 2006: 19,840 / 15,110
- 2007: 14,305 / 19,711
- 2008: 15,114 / 19,265
- 2009: 16,107 / 25,218
- 2010: 14,575 / missed playoffs
- 2011: 14,830 / missed playoffs
- 2012: 13,056 / missed playoffs
- 2013: 8,366 / missed playoffs
- 2014: 7,063 / missed playoffs
Chivas USA Players:
Notable players who played at Chivas during their short time in its MLS history.
- Alejandro Moreno
- Amado Guevara
- Ante Jazić
- Ante Razov
- Brad Guzan
- Claudio Suárez
- Douglas Sequeira
- Erick Torres
- Ezra Hendrickson
- Heath Pearce
- Jesse Marsch
- Jonathan Bornstein
- Ramón Núñez
- Ramón Ramírez
- Raphaël Wicky
- Sacha Kljestan
- Simon Elliott
- Steve Purdy
Rhett is an Australian-born, globe trotter who is a UEFA ‘A’ Licence Soccer Coach. With his family, he has traveled and coached soccer in more than 30 countries, while attending World Cups, European Championships, and some of the biggest local derbies in the world!