CARSON, Calif. – It has long been the case that Chivas USA are in the market for a new stadium. The team currently plays at the Home Depot Center – a pitch it happily shares with Western Conference foe the LA Galaxy – but is interested in finding its own home, a stadium that would be uniquely Chivas USA’s.
The process had sputtered a bit during the economic downturn of late 2008, but as the financial world picks up steam, so does Chivas USA’s search.
“We’re looking at potential options in the LA area,” Chivas USA President and CEO Shawn Hunter told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday afternoon. “It’s a long-term process and obviously we want to be extremely thorough in our research. We were slowed a bit by the economy in 2009, but we’ve started to spend more time again now that the economy has turned.”
One of the primary difficulties of any LA-area stadium search is the sheer size of the city. Comprising 4,850 square miles, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area is the second-largest in the United States. Such a search is further complicated by LA’s lack of a true city center – the Southland is famous (or infamous) for its sprawl.
“In a perfect situation, you’d have a central location that had access for, really, the entire LA metropolitan area,” said Hunter. “Some of the keys are strong access from public transportation, having a good community partner – someone that would be excited about having Chivas USA as a community asset in their backyard, and finding a place where there are existing Chivas USA fans as well as potential Chivas USA fans.”
When Chivas USA first began their bid to enter MLS back in 2004, there was speculation that the team would settle in San Diego. Such rumors were discussed in both the Los Angeles Times and The San Diego Union-Tribune, but the stories were quickly squelched when the Red-and-White began their inaugural 2005 season in Los Angeles.
Six years later, there have been murmurs from fans and media that Chivas USA’s stadium search should include an investigation into moving down to San Diego. News that the Goats’ upcoming friendly against Chivas de Guadalajara on Sept. 14 had been set at San Diego’s PETCO Park only helped fuel any chatter that Chivas USA should consider heading south.
But Hunter insists the team is happy in Los Angeles and is eager to continue looking for a new stadium there.
“LA is our home and we’re excited about LA,” he said. “It would be nice to have a Chivas USA stadium. Everyone always dreams of having their own place to call home and we’ve been thinking about that and working at that. That’s a decision that you only make once and you want to be really accurate.”