In a press conference held Monday it was announced that Los Angeles and The Home Depot Center would be the new home to an MLS expansion team in 2005 headed by investor-operators Jorge Vergara and Antonio Cue. A quote sheet follows with statements from the press conference and comments from other interviews:
Jorge Vergara - MLS Investor-Operator, Founder and CEO, Grupo Omnilife
Antonio Cue - MLS Investor-Operator, Mexican Real Estate Entrepreneur
Don Garber - MLS Commissioner
Whit Haskel - Senior Vice President and General Manager - Los Angeles expansion team
Ivar Sisniega - Chivas Guadalajara Executive President
Tim Leiweke - President, AEG and Chairman, MLS Board of Governors
Doug Hamilton - President and General Manager, Los Angeles Galaxy
James Hahn - Mayor, City of Los Angeles
Jim Dear - Mayor, City of Carson
MLS INVESTOR-OPERATOR JORGE VERGARA
"It took us a while, about a year and a half, but I think it's all worth it ... I want to thank Don Garber of MLS and Tim Leiweke from AEG. We have a team now and Chivas USA can take off from this point. I want to thank Antonio Cue. He's not just my partner but he represents what we can do and what he is capable of. I want to say special thanks to the fans that are represented here today ... we're going to be here with you.
"Chivas USA is going to be just like Chivas in Mexico with the same distinction of excellence.... You can be sure we're going to be the best team in all the United States ... We accept that challenge and we are committed to making Chivas USA as successful as Chivas Guadalajara ... We're going to be ready to play the first game against any team in MLS."
On the differences between Chivas Guadalajara and the expansion team in America:
"You've got to remember that we have a different culture here. Even though we have Mexican and Spanish-speaking people here we have to respect the culture and it's going to be different (than Chivas Guadalajara) in many senses ... The colors will be the same. The logo will have a different design of course and the players and the culture of those players will be different."
On whether Chivas fans in America will have their hearts torn on whom to support:
"It's the same. They know it's an extension of the Chivas they love (in Mexico) and you can see the support here today now that they have them playing right here in the U.S. It's more like a brotherhood than a franchise. You can't franchise a heart."
On the significance of the expansion announcement:
"What's happening here today is transcendental and you can see it here with your own eyes. This is the first MLS press conference with this kind of fan presence."
On the process of landing an MLS expansion team:
"It was a big process that Antonio Cue helped wrap up quickly or otherwise it would have taken a few more years to make happen. It was a process of convincing the Galaxy and MLS the importance of bringing Chivas to Los Angeles."
On the playing style of the new expansion team:
"This is going to be a team with a lot of heart and desire and we're going to be champions soon."
On the coaching search:
"We are interviewing people and there are a few names out there. Within a month or month and a half we will be a name."
On the search for talent:
"We're looking for new blood in the United States that is talented and speaks Spanish."
On Ramon Ramirez and Francisco Palencia joining the team:
"They are both great talents and they have great qualities that not a lot of players have. They like to teach and share with the young ones. And those qualities are indispensable here."
MLS INVESTOR-OPERATOR ANTONIO CUE
"I want to give thanks to the people beside me because thanks to them we are able to bring Chivas here ... I'm sure that we'll be able to combine the Mexican culture with the American culture ... We're here to win. I think we're going to be contenders and we're going to make The Home Depot Center the home of Chivas. We're going to bring in our traditions and we're going to have a competitive team."
On the new expansion team starting in Los Angeles:
"Of course I'm really surprised with this great achievement of bringing Chivas to Los Angeles. It's something a lot of Mexicans wanted. I'm moving to Los Angeles because my new job is now here."
On beating out Club America with a team in the United States:
"I don't know Club America's plans. I'm more concerned with making sure my team is a success. The most important thing is we got here first in an important city like Los Angeles. And the one who gets to places first is the leader. We have to do what Jorge (Vergara) did since he took over the team in Mexico - make things happen."
On how the team will seek out its talent:
"We're open to all young talent and we want to have the best players out there ... We've said that we will attempt to count on as many Mexican as we can but we are open to all talent and we will not close the doors to our brothers from Central and South America. What we want here is a competitive team and we will be working on this in the coming weeks."
MLS COMMISSIONER DON GARBER
"One year ago today we announced that Major League Soccer would expand by two teams in 2005. The first team would be owned by Jorge Vergara, a visionary businessman, philanthropist and sports team owner. Together we embarked on a journey to determine the best location for this special team, a team that will capitalize on the passion, the history, and the excitement of one of Mexico's most legendary soccer clubs - Chivas.
"We investigated cities from coast to coast, and ultimately we came back to right where we started - right here in Southern California, in the Los Angeles market, in Carson, California. The decision was based on two very important principles. We needed a great facility, a place that would provide the atmosphere and the excitement to capture the image of this team. We also wanted a market that would understand the significance of this undertaking.
"We found it right here under our nose. We call this facility, The Home Depot Center, the cathedral for soccer in America. We call it that because it celebrates and showcases all that is great about our sport: passionate atmosphere, respect for the fans, support for the game that they love, and a constituency that is as diverse as America itself.
"For at least two decades, Los Angeles has been recognized as the center of the international soccer world. From the final of the 1984 Olympics to the Final of the 1994 World Cup and to the final of last year's and this year's Major League Soccer Championship game, the MLS Cup, Los Angeles is home to some of the sport's memorable moments and some of soccer's most sophisticated and passionate fans.
"Whether they speak Spanish, English, or countless other languages, Los Angeles and Carson are America's soccer cities. Next year Major League Soccer will now have its first clasico, a local rivalry where multiple teams exist in the same town and play in the same stadium as they do in many countries throughout the world.
"I want to congratulate Señor Vergara and his partner Antonio Cue for their vision and their commitment to soccer in this country and our great league, Major League Soccer. By the way, Antonio has moved from Mexico to Los Angeles and will provide the day-to-day drive to make this team successful on and off the field.
"This new team will now join Salt Lake City as the first new expansion teams in Major League Soccer since 1998. This growth, along with announcements we've made this year for new stadiums for the Chicago Fire in Bridgeview, Illinois, the MetroStars in Harrison, New Jersey, and just last week the Colorado Rapids in Commerce City, Colorado, represents the vibrancy, the energy, and the future opportunity for the sport of professional soccer in America. We are the league for a New America. We are America's fastest growing sport. We are the sport for America's fastest growing demographic population. We are the world's most popular sport and we are sure we will make it the most popular sport in the United States."
CHIVAS GUADALAJARA EXECUTIVE PRESIDENT IVAR SISNIEGA
On sharing The Home Depot Center:
"What happens with us in Guadalajara with Atlas is that we play one week and they play in the other. Initially we think we (the expansion club) will be playing on Sundays so that we're not playing at the same time as Chivas in Mexico (Saturday nights) because fans have let us know that they want to be able to see both teams. It is our decision - a decision of the stadium and of the team (expansion club)"
On the regular season calendar:
"The calendar is not yet set. We have to wait for MLS to come out with the calendar with advance notice and then we will start selling season tickets to our fans that have shown great enthusiasm. There will be a lot of interesting packages for people who want to buy season tickets."
On the search for a head coach:
"We're looking for a knowledgeable, dedicated and ambitious man. If we knew the name we would be announcing it right here. We're intensely looking for the right coach. I don't even know yet. We will bring someone who has coached here in the U.S. and who knows the sport here. It's too far early to say anything."
AEG PRESIDENT AND CEO TIM LEIWEKE
"First of all, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the president of the campus here. It was his vision to have a diverse campus. This is the most diverse campus in the entire state of California and today we bring great diversity and a great new anchor tenant to the campus at Cal-State Dominguez Hills. Thank you, Dr. Lyons, for your hospitality in allowing us to be here.
"To Jorge (Vergara), Antonio (Cue), and Ivar (Sisniega), welcome. A year and a half and it's all been worth it. Welcome to Los Angeles and the Home Depot Center."
On the significance of the announcement:
"This is fantastic for Los Angeles and unbelievable for The Home Depot Center."
On which team he will support:
"From my standpoint because we're partners with them (new expansion team) on their marketing rights, I wear no hats here. I'm for both teams and when they play each other whoever has the ball is my favorite team."
WHIT HASKEL - GENERAL MANAGER OF NEW EXPANSION TEAM
On his challenge ahead:
"Risk? No, I don't feel that when I see all these people here supporting the team. It's a new challenge for me it a great pleasure to be able to work with people who have 100 years of tradition and who have a vision like Jorge Vergara and Antonio Cue. I'm looking forward to rolling up the sleeves and going to work."
On the effect of the new expansion team on soccer in America:
"Chivas brings with them a great tradition that will open the eyes of all the Mexicans not only in Southern California but in all of the United States. This will open the eyes of many Mexicans in America to Major League Soccer."
On the goals of the new expansion team:
"As Jorge Vergara and Antonio Cue have said, the goal is to win and be the best in the League on and off the field."
On the state of MLS:
"It's a young league, a growing league and a league that has provided a lot of players to the U.S. National Team which has been very successful in international tournaments. Chivas will bring something special to the league in terms of player development as well."
On the player selection process:
"I haven't spoken in detail with the owners on this process. But this process has begun a year and a half ago and we'll find out more about this in the coming weeks."
On the coaching search:
"I don't have more information at this point on the coaching search."
On the expectations of the fans:
"We've started well with all the fans who are here today. The idea is to fill up the stadium as much as possible and show the world what pure passion for the sport is."
FRANCISCO PALENCIA - CHIVAS GUADALAJARA MIDFIELDER
On soccer in America:
"Little by little the league has raised its level. It has cost the country that it has not had years of past tradition to build on. But now it's maintaining itself and little by little more people are going to the stadiums. This team is another ingredient and here (in Los Angeles) with such a large Hispanic community it will be a great boost for soccer here."
On being a player on the new expansion team:
"It's something we've spoken of and we have reached an agreement so we can somehow make this project a success and I'm happy to be a part of it."
LOS ANGELES GALAXY PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER DOUG HAMILTON:
"As everyone has, let me welcome you to The Home Depot Center. We look forward to working with you and competing against you. We look forward to these fans coming back often. To our mayors here in attendance let me thank you for your support, thank you for following the Galaxy and thank you for following Chivas as they get here.
"I think it's obvious the fun has started. The competition will be good for MLS. We hope to learn your business practices and share ours with you as we've enjoyed success here.
"Finally, a word of great respect for Southern California. We truly believe this is the only market in America today that could support two great teams competing for a championship each year."
LOS ANGELES MAYOR JAMES HAHN:
"This is a great day for Los Angeles and for Carson. Carson will be the home to two great soccer teams. We're so happy that our Los Angeles fans will have some great teams to root for. It's great news for soccer fans and congratulations."
CARSON MAYOR JIM DEAR:
"We are very happy to have you in the city of Carson. The city of Carson is the most ethnically diverse city in the state of California. On behalf of the city of Carson and the people of Carson, I would like to congratulate Commissioner Garber and AEG on today's announcement. We also have a city councilwoman here today, Julie Ruiz Rabor, whose grandfather was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. The city of Carson would like to welcome the new team and its owners to the city. We are pleased that they have decided to make Carson their home.
"Having an additional Major League Soccer team at the Home Depot Center will result in a positive economic impact to the local community. It will provide new job opportunities and it will provide a boost to the surrounding small businesses in Carson. So when you're coming to enjoy the game, please spend your money at our local businesses.
"Already, the Home Depot Center has resulted in a significant increase in business at local restaurants and hotels. We are confident that the momentum will continue and would like to offer any assistance that we can to make their transition to Carson with success."