Chivas USAIntroductionFirst SeasonChange of coach
Club Deportivo Chivas USA are an American Soccer Club who play in the Major Soccer League. They are based in Carson, California and play in the same stadium as the LA Galaxy.
The club is an off-shoot of the Club Deportivo Chivas de Guadalajara, one of the biggest clubs in Mexico. Chivas USA wear the same kit as their parent club-red and white striped shirts with blue and gold shorts.
CD Chivas was formed in 2005 and played their first game in a 2-0 home defeat to DC United. After only one win in their first ten games, coming against fellow newcomers Real Salt Lake, the manager was replaced, with former PSV and Ajax manager Hans Westerhoff coming in.
The club’s form improved slightly but they were still well off the pace and finished bottom in the Western Conference with the lowest points-total on record in the MLS, failing to qualify for the playoffs or progress beyond the first round of the Open Cup.
Change of coach and change of fortunes
At the end of the club’s inaugural season, Westerhoff was replaced by American Bob Bradley, who had led the Chicago Fire and Metrostars to MLS success. Under Bradley, Chivas’ fortunes improved markedly.
They finished third in the Western Conference in the 2006 season, reached the playoff quarter-finals and received praise from the media and people within the game for their much improved quality, which was reflected in results. Bradley won MLS Coach of the Year and young defender Jonathon Bornstein won Rookie of the Year.
After the 2006 season Bradley left Chivas to become the coach of the US under-23 side and was replaced by Predrag Radosavljevi?. The Serbian-American, better known as Preki, played in central midfield for Everton and Portsmouth in the mid-nineties before moving to America and representing the US national team.
With him on board, the club’s meteoric rise from minnows in 2005 was completed, as they won the Western Conference in 2007. They were victorious in 15 of their 30 league games and finished just 1 point above their closest contenders the Houston Dynamos.
Chivas had to play the Dynamos in the last game of the season at the Home Depot Centre and, despite having defender Lawson Vaughn sent off after 40 minutes, they managed a goalless draw to lift the cup. Preki won Coach of the Year for this feat.
This was the Chivas’ first major trophy. Sadly, they were eventually knocked out of the playoffs in the quarter-finals by Kansas City Wizards by a solitary goal over two legs, but the season was a resounding success.
They qualified for the Superliga (the competition between the best American and Mexican teams), where they will face Eastern Conference Champions the New England Revolution and two Mexican teams – Pachuca and Club Santos. They will also play in the CONCACAF Champions League.
With a core of experienced Mexican and American international players, a growing and passionate local fan-base, and some exciting new signings such as Wicky, the future seems bright for Chivas. Considering they were only created three years ago, finished rock-bottom in their first season, Chivas have done incredibly well to make themselves one of the best teams in North America today.
Notable moments in their history
100 hour game
In August 2006, in line with the centennial anniversary of its parent club, Guadalajara and Chivas USA jointly organized a football match that lasted 100 hours in the city of Bell Gardens. A ‘Chivas’ team comprising past and present players from both clubs competed against ‘The Rest of the World’, which included Mexican and Mexican-American politicians and celebrities as well as former players. "Chivas" ran out 437-429 winners on the game, which lasted between August 9th and 13th.
The club is very proud of its Latin-American and Mexican heritage. Their chairman, Mexican businessman and film-producer Jorge Vergera Madrigal, has promised to make Spanish the official language of the club. This is shown in the team’s marketing slogan for its campaign in 2005 – "Adiós soccer. ¡El fútbol está aquí!", translated as "Goodbye soccer, futbol is here!".
While most of the team are American or European players, some well-known Mexican and Latin American footballers have appeared for Chivas. These include the club captain and one of the most capped international players of all-time, Mexican Claudio Suarez. He has played at three World Cups and gained 178 caps.
Other Latin Americans who have played for Chivas include Mexican internationals Francisco Palencia, Ramon Ramires, who both have over 70 caps for their country, midfielder and top appearance-maker Francisco Mendoza, and Cuban striker Makel Galindo.
Swiss international Raphael Wicky is the club’s midfield maestro. The former Atletico Madrid and Werder Bremen player has played at a higher level than anyone else in the team, with such extensive experience in the European game. He has also represented Switzerland at the 1996 and 2004 European Championships, as well as the 2006 World Cup.
Chivas’ top-scorer last season was Ante Razov with 25 goals in 33 games. Razov has spent most of his prolific career at the top of the goal-scorers list in the MLS. He has also scored 6 goals in 25 appearances for the US.
Other current Chivas players include Jamaican international Shavar Thomas, US internationals Jonathan Bornstein, Alecko Eskandarian, Jesse Marsch, Sacha Kljestan, Brad Guzan. English forward and former Manchester Utd and Blackburn trainee John Cunliffe and Brazilian ex-Arsenal youngster Paulo Nagamura are also on Chivas’ books.
Chivas share the Home Depot Centre stadium with the Los Angeles Galaxy. The 27,000 capacity stadium was designed specifically for football and has been nicknamed ‘The Cathedral of American Soccer’. Chivas generally entertain around 14,000 people at every home game, although at the playoff game in 2007 against Kansas there were 19,000 present.
The club also runs such innovative programs such as the Chivas USA Futbol Academies and other soccer education initiatives.
- Western Conference – Winners (2007)
- Supporters’ Shield – Runners-up (2007)