Chivas USA's plans of an all-Southern California team are real — but perhaps not as jarring as a recent report made it seem.
In a phone interview on Tuesday with MLSsoccer.com, Chivas USA general manager José Domene clarified remarks recently made by vice president of marketing and sponorship Rodrigo Morales and co-owner Jorge Vergara that the club was aiming on eventually on fielding a team made completely of local products.
According to Domene, Vergara's comments more closely echoed Chivas' goal of providing an entire team of Home Grown products.
“Mr. Vergara had it right and Rodrigo was misunderstood,” Domene said. “We’re trying to build a team based on youth development and not necessarily buy superstars. We want to build superstars from within, that doesn’t mean that they’ll all be SoCal players. If for whatever reason we end up with 11 SoCal players from our youth development, then that means that we’re very good at scouting here and our youth program worked.”
According to MLS rules, a club’s youth boundary stretches 75 miles in all directions from the club’s base. In this case, the Rojiblancos share territory with the LA Galaxy that covers much of the Los Angeles area, one of the largest metropolitan areas in the entire world.
Since taking the GM position earlier in the year, Domene and head coach Robin Fraser have stressed that their plans for Chivas USA were focused on having a team that was built on the youth academy, similar to that of their sister club CD Guadalajara.
“It is a delicate issue because since Guadalajara plays with all-Mexican players, so anything that we say about an all-anything team carries bigger weight than any other team in MLS,” said Domene. “There are great players all over and we don’t want to limit ourselves. We could play with all academy players and that means that we were successful.
“It doesn’t mean that we’ll discriminate against any other player in America or any other player in the world.”
The Rojiblancos currently boast four former members of their academy and two Home Grown players. One of the two, Bryan de la Fuente, was signed by Chivas USA last season while the other, Tristan Bowen, was developed by the LA Galaxy and joined Chivas via trade in the offseason.
In his interview, Domene also stated that a rumored friendly with Mexico’s Copa América squad on June 15, which had been reported by the Mexican Football Federation and ESPN Deportes had not yet been confirmed.
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and onTwitter: @adamserrano