Why has pro soccer not stuck in Orange County in the past?

There’s a commonly held belief by followers of soccer in this country that “Orange County can’t support a pro soccer team because it doesn’t support the OC Blues.” I say repeatedly to these commenters, mainly on social media or Reddit, that all attempts at pro soccer in Orange County in the past, and in modern times, have failed because they didn’t and don’t connect with the heart of soccer in the county, which is Santa Ana. Face it. The OC Blues are notorious for their less-than-desirable attendance, and this is how they’re viewed around the country in spite of their on field record, because they’ve never prioritized Santa Ana.
All attempts at pro soccer in Orange County have failed, for decades, because they’ve failed to connect and build community with the most important soccer city in the county, and one of the most important in Southern California, which is Santa Ana. The market is there, not suburban Orange County, South OC, Irvine, etc. I don’t know if it’s because the city is “too Mexican” for marketers and they don’t know how to capture it but it’s probably something along those lines.

The “Orange County Zodiac” of the A-League left Irvine and tried to establish themselves at Santa Ana Stadium in the 90s, but it was too late because both the USL and MLS were on the rise. They never had the chance to firmly establish themselves with an academy, etc. Their name didn’t help either, as they seemingly wanted to play off of the “Galaxy” moniker, showing just how out of touch they were with the landscape. Speaking of out of touch, an “OC Blue” doesn’t ring very local, to me.

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2 thoughts on “Why has pro soccer not stuck in Orange County in the past?

  1. This is incorrect. Pro Soccer hasn’t stuck because of the greedy league owners that have tenure. They gang up on anyone trying to orginize. Case and point, Santa Ana Winds FC, they had a good project playing in a solid league. With the amount of local talent they could have become a USL or even NASL franchise. It took only a few preseason games for the local leagues both youth and adult to muscle them out of Aanta Ana. The even went to the extent of potioning the Winds facility usage rights. Saying that the local league had priority over all the facilities in Santa Ana. Its a fucking mafia that runs the youth and adult soccer and there is no connecting with them or organizing with them because they want an absurd amount of money to let the project flow. If you are still doubtful of what im saying ask Leonel Lopez (Santa Ana Winds FC Part Owner) he can tell you how corrupt the city is and why his project failed. All because of bunch n of local crooks.

    1. I don’t doubt what you’ve said, as prior to having Leonel tell me these same things, the Director of Parks and Rec (Gerardo) explained to me how much of a challenge it is to use city-owned fields with the leagues fighting over use.

      I think what’s needed in Santa Ana is a heavy hand in dealing with those leagues. The city first needs to understand the potential that the professional soccer economy can have on Santa Ana. This way the city will give priority to better-run, better-funded professional club projects. Dealing with the leagues and only the leagues is small time. I think it’s a matter of time before the city realizes what potential they (we, all of us) have in the stadium and start to act to maybe find a stadium sponsor, club, etc.

      In theory, we should have, we could have a pro club training at the city soccer complex, for example. We should have an academy to first team system. We have it all in Santa Ana but it’s too fractured by the leagues.

      This is why it occurred to me form a new Municipal League. Yeah, there’s already a million leagues in town but this one will be a league that the city will favor because it will:

      Foster civic pride
      Foster city identity

      Instead of naming your team “Morelia” or Pumas or whatever, your club will be admitted only if you identify with an actual Santa Ana park or region. For example, Windsor Park (FC), Santiago, Cabrillo, Artesia… Imagine all that can be done by turning inward. We have enough parks/neighborhoods to form a Municipal League and a Municipal 2 League. I’ve already started planning it and I think the city would be supportive when they see that one of the main purposes of forming it would be to build civic pride. This league in turn could fuel an elite, or all-city team.

      I invite you to keep up with Santa Ana soccer talk at saintcitypost.wordpress.com

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