Chivas USA part-owner Jorge Vergara says his club has a long-term vision of fielding a squad made up only of players developed from the region that serves as Chivas USA’s home base: Southern California.
But is it possible? And how competitive can a team be if the recruitment of players is restricted to the SoCal area?
MLSsoccer.com takes Vergara’s vision to heart and turns it into reality by forming an all-SoCal squad made up of current MLS players. It would only feature arguably the league’s best goalkeeper, MLS’ top defender and the best player in American soccer history. Not to mention a former MLS Rookie of the Year, two national team midfielders, a US coaching legend and a bench that would be the envy of the league.
GK: Nick Rimando (Montclair, Calif.) – The Montclair High School grad and UCLA product is in his 12th MLS season but is yet to play for a California-based club. But he’s closer than he ever was before, a stone’s throw away in Salt Lake City.
DF: Marvell Wynne (Poway, Calif.) – The defender can thank his dad’s move from baseball’s Chicago Cubs to the San Diego Padres for establishing his SoCal roots. He went from Poway High School to UCLA and then to MLS, where he currently plies his trade in Colorado.
DF: Jimmy Conrad (Arcadia, Calif.) – Went from Temple City High School to San Diego State University and then UCLA. In this his 13th season, he finally gets the chance to play for his first Southern California MLS team at Chivas USA.
DF: Chad Marshall (Riverside, Calif.) – Coming out of Rubidoux High School and the Irvine Strikers, Marshall was one of the top college recruits but instead of UCLA, Marshall opted for Stanford. After two years he swapped Palo Alto, Calif., for Columbus, Ohio.
DF: Sean Franklin (Panorama City, Calif.) – The LA Galaxy right back and 2008 MLS Rookie of the Year went to Highland High School in Palmdale and attended Cal State Northridge. He also played for USL side San Fernando Valley Quakes before getting drafted by the Galaxy No. 4 overall.
MF: Sal Zizzo (San Diego, Calif.) – UCLA product via Hotspurs USA and Patrick Henry High School. Played for the Orange County Blue Star in the PDL before heading to Europe. When he returned stateside, it was Chivas USA that picked him up before sending him to the Portland Timbers before the 2011 season.
MF: Benny Feilhaber (Irvine, Calif.) – Arrived in SoCal as a teenager after moving from Brazil and New York. Starred for Northwood High School and the Irvine Strikers but had to make it on the UCLA squad as a walk-on. Today he’s a World Cup veteran.
MF: Robbie Rogers (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.) – The former Mater Dei High School student also played for the Orange County Blue Star in the PDL. When the trade rumors began heating up earlier this year, many already had the Columbus Crew winger going to Chivas USA.
FW: Chris Pontius (Yorba Linda, Calif.) – A ex-Servite High School and Irvine Strikers player, Pontius attended UC Santa Barbara. He scored his first professional goal in his first professional game at the Home Depot Center.
FW: Steven Lenhart (Yorba Linda, Calif.) – Attended Point Loma Nazarene University and Azusa Pacific University while also playing for the Southern California Seahorses in the PDL. The San Jose Earthquakes forward is as SoCal as they come.
FW: Landon Donovan (Ontario, Calif.) – A former member of Rancho Cucamonga club Cal Heat and Redlands East Valley High School, the USMNT all-time leading scorer would be the headliner of this group.
BENCH: GK Dan Kennedy (Fullerton, Calif.), GK Matt Reis (Mission Viejo, Calif.), DF Danny Califf (Montclair, Calif.), DF A.J. Soares (Solana Beach, Calif.), DF Frankie Hejduk (La Mesa, Calif.), DF Tony Beltran (Claremont, Calif.), DF/MF Michael Farfan (San Diego, Calif.), MF Davis Paul (San Diego, Calif.), MF Servando Carrasco (San Diego, Calif.), MF Kyle Nakazawa (Torrance, Calif.), MF Eric Avila (San Diego, Calif.), FW Chad Barrett (San Diego, Calif.), FW Tristan Bowen (Van Nuys, Calif.), FW Conor Chinn (La Jolla, Calif.), FW Chance Myers (Thousand Oaks, Calif.).
MANAGER: Sigi Schmid – Legendary UCLA coach and former LA Galaxy coach who won titles on both levels. Though born in Germany, the current Seattle Sounders boss grew up near the site of what became the Home Depot Center.