The Santa Ana City Council is scheduled Monday to approve an exclusive six-month negotiating window with the Los Angeles-based professional soccer team Chivas USA for a possible move to Santa Ana.
Rumors earlier in the year that Chivas might come to town sparked an outcry from residents in various neighborhoods. The residents feared that the team’s presence would lead to increased noise and traffic in nearby neighborhoods.
The agenda item comes after local soccer boosters and Chivas USA officials said publicly that the team would not move to Santa Ana.
In July, Chivas USA co-owner Antonio Cue told MLSsoccer.com that Chivas USA would not move to any location outside Los Angeles County.
Then in August, Alex Vega, spokesman for the Santa Ana Soccer and Business Association, said a possible move “is dead, it’s over. They’re not coming here.” Added association president Edgar Vasquez: “I think they’re [Chivas USA] probably just using us.”
Residents were critical of Mayor Miguel Pulido for holding negotiations with the team behind closed doors. After dodging requests for some time, Pulido met with residents on Aug. 31, according to an email from former Councilman Tom Lutz, who is leading the coalition against a move.
Pulido told the residents during that meeting that Eddie West Field, which is used by several local schools for athletics and other events, is “off the table” but that the 102-acre Willowick Golf Course is still an option for a temporary Chivas USA facility, with an eye toward building a permanent stadium.
“If a temporary facility is not successful, Willowick would be ruined for nothing,” Lutz wrote in an email.
The exclusive negotiations, according to a city staff report, would focus on developing “Chivas facilities” at the golf course.