Club Deportivo Chivas USA supporters who would be players will get a chance to try out for their favorite club, thanks to the ChivaSocio (Chivas Club Member) and Sangre Nueva (New Blood) programs.
The club announced the new ChivaSocio program at a press conference Thursday, outlining several benefits of the Southern California team's club membership. The first perk is a chance for those who sign up to tryout for CD Chivas USA through the club's Sangre Nueva program. Tryouts are free for ChivaSocios.
Nearly a year ago, the organization conducted a series of tryouts through the Sangre Nueva program in Southern California and Houston, examining more than 3,000 players and then paring down that group to a shortlist of 36 before inviting 3 to Mexico to train with Club Deportivo Guadalajara. Those players may well be included in CD Chivas USA's plans for their inaugural season, along with any players who emerge from this month's tryouts.
"We know that Chivas is a club of the people," head coach Thomas Rongen said. "We would like to find local talent that can represent Chivas on the highest level. We feel that this community has tremendous grassroots support and some very, very talented players."
Other benefits of the ChivaSocio program include a ticket voucher for select 2005 CD Chivas USA matches, a personalized membership card, special ticket and merchandise offers, special access to select team training sessions and priority for 2005 season ticket selection. In 2005, members will also receive a monthly newsletter and priority sale alerts before the general public.
There will also be a ChivaSocio Jr. club, which is tailored toward children aged 3-12 and includes a Meet & Greet with the CD Chivas USA team mascot, a personalized birthday card from a player and team merchandise raffles.
The open tryouts for ChivaSocios will take place on Oct. 31 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT at Charles Jones Junior High School in Baldwin Park and are open to athletes aged 18-24. Tryouts will be supervised by two Club Deportivo Guadalajara legends: Salvador "Chava" Reyes, who is the club's all-time leading scorer and a three-time World Cup player, and Arturo "El Cura" Chaires, who was a former captain and defender of CD Guadalajara during the clubs most successful period (1960-1970). CD Chivas USA coaching staff, including head coach Thomas Rongen, assistant coach Javier "Zully" Ledesma and director of soccer Dennis te Kloese, will attend the event. Those interested in trying out must present valid identification or an official birth certificate.
"I've worked a lot of years for Chivas in Mexico," te Kloese said, "and this project of Sangre Nueva has been quite a successful project for us to get closer to our fans, to get closer to talented players."
Jason Halpin is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.