WARD 2. Downtown Inc surprised everyone with this large banner placed near the MX Live stage during the Cinco de Mayo celebration on Fourth street.
Talks with the club began about two years ago. Antonio Cué, one of the owners of the club, came to a State of the City address and there was talk of a potential move to the city in the long term. Nothing else was said about the move since that first contact with the club. The club’s U16 and U18 squads played at Santa Ana Stadium but have now moved elsewhere.
There was talk of building a stadium at Willowick Golf course, bordering the City of Garden Grove, but nothing has been done or said concerning that site.
Santa Ana has a number of different locations for a potentially new stadium to be built. The push coming from Downtown Inc obviously leads one to believe that they want the club to play at Santa Ana Stadium. This is probably the easiest solution because all that is needed is an expansion to the structure, as the Portland Timbers did to their home field, and planting of natural grass. Within five years time the stadium will be served by light rail pending the announcement of a locally preferred alternative scheduled for this year.
There may be some trouble convincing the high schools to play their football games elsewhere, ideally their campuses with some added seats if necessary. Some fields look underused, like Valley High. Others already have a decent field and seating, like Segerstrom High. It may be difficult to convert the stadium into a soccer specific venue, as Major League Soccer requires each of its teams to have. If agreed to the city may sell the stadium to a private developer to pass on the cost of improvement and expansion. Chivas USA now has the sponsor to do that, international corporate giant Grupo Modelo, makers of Corona beer. The City of Santa Ana might be able to get a goodwill gesture out of Grupo Modelo and have them pay to expand the seats for SAUSD high school football teams. They have more than enough capital to do all of this and they should show Santa Ana that type of goodwill and commitment.
Other potential locations for a soccer-specific stadium are Xerox Centre or Centennial Park. The park may be the less desirable option given that it is not near any freeways or mass transit hubs. Xerox Centre may be served by shuttles to and from the stadium and the train station, and the name has a nice ring to it already… Xerox Centre Field.
There already is a soccer field in the Xerox Centre area, behind the Pridemark building which is viewable from the 5 Freeway North. That field could have seating erected around it. Building a stadium near Xerox Centre will be an economic boost to the surrounding area with its hotels and motels struggling as of late. The Saddleback Inn is an example of this. It makes good sense to build here because of the infrastructure around it already. There are parking structures at Xerox Centre and hotels nearby.
Another option is the area immediately around the train station, negotiations may do the trick there.