Michael Farrow's sports blog

A collection of new and old writings

..on Chivas USA

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Jorge Vergara - Either he wants to lose or he's telling lies

Chivas USA.  A Mexican club in MLS.  Call me foolish but I can’t see how this is going to work. The whole idea of the team is that they are nationalist in their outlook. The only parallel is if an existing franchise decided to stop signing foreigners and stick to signing players born and bred in the USA.  Chivas have carved out an identity as the Mexican club for Mexican players, much like Athletic Bilbao have carved out a niche as the Basque club for Basque players.

Why would Chivas do this?  There isn’t a part of the US which is currently seeking autonomy or independence.  This would be a franchise policy; “we prefer to sign Mexican-Americans”.  How would that be an identity?  How would that be the Chivas identity?  MLS doesn’t have a youth policy as such and there is naturally less connection to the “local boy come good” which is commonplace elsewhere.  If a franchise came out and said they were pro-American and were going to develop American talent, I could understand it.  This, I just can’t grasp.

Firstly, we have to deal with single entity and the salary cap.  Without exceptions or exclusions, there will come a point where players will need to be traded or waived.  There aren’t a whole heap of Mexicans or Mexican-Americans kicking around the league so that would mean trades for other nationalities, completely undermining the point of Chivas USA.  I understand this isn’t impossible but Vergara is going to find it immensely difficult to remain competitive.

Secondly, we have to deal with the point of Major League Soccer and Project 2010.  MLS was formed to develop American talent. It’s a key part of Project 2010, the USSF’s twenty-year plan to develop the game and win the World Cup, which was a cornerstone of landing the 1994 World Cup. To allow one team to flout the rules would undermine said twenty year plan. Unless MLS are that desperate and things are not going to their plans, I cannot see why such a thing would be allowed. Either that or the MLS board and USSF will be at loggerheads.

Thirdly, it seems to be a top-down approach when a bottom-up approach is what is needed.  Many have complained for years that Mexican-Americans are a huge untapped resource in terms of both fans and players. However, the way to do this would be to have organised leagues and put into place a long-term plan to get professional-standard coaches down to the grassroots level of the game. I like the idea of hispanic-centric teams at the lower levels of the game, say the PDL or the USASA-affiliated leagues, maybe even the Pro Select League. At a stretch, it might even make it up as high as the A-League. However, it’s not viable in the single entity to have a Mexican-centric team and it would lack the identity of similar based clubs. These clubs are based around developing local talent, which is lacking in MLS.

Fourthly, it’s a stretch when this league is not front page news to try and create the “Mexican” team in the US. Chivas has a national appeal in Mexico but this is because the game is the number one sport in Mexico.  There cannot be a national appeal because the country is too vast, the sport isn’t popular enough I can’t see how this will work in the US.   Right now under the current system, this cannot be Chivas. They can work towards a team of Mexicans/Mexican-Americans but, right now, it looks like a publicity tool.  Controversy gets people talking and Jorge Vergara wants people talking.   Unfortunately, MLS are blinded to money and bullshit right now.

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Written by Michael Farrow

October 28, 2003 at 11:41 am

Posted in Football

Tagged with ,

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