Fullerton Rangers Become OC Spartans FC

The former Fullerton Rangers soccer club of the NPSL, who used to be the Santa Ana Winds FC also of the NPSL, has changed their name yet again, this time to the “OC Spartans FC” in an attempt to bank on “the OC” brand.

The “Fullerton” branding endeavor was a flop, as they attempted to partner with the reputable Fullerton Rangers Youth Academy and use their name, but they played their games at Santa Ana Stadium.

This time around “OC Spartans FC” is partnering with the Pateadores youth soccer club, that plays its home games at Orange Coast College.

The “Spartans” will play another season at Santa Ana Stadium in the NPSL.

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Armando “Mambo” Flores Scores for Chivas U18

Armando Flores, Santa Ana’s Sueño MLS Winner, scored for the Goats in San Diego last weekend helping his team improve to 8-5-5.

Alicia Ratteree of The Goat Parade, in her weekly roundup of the Chivas U16 and U18 Academy teams reports:

Meantime, the U18s beat Nomads U18s by the comparatively pedestrian 4-0 margin. Romario Lomeli opened the scoring in the 20th minute, followed up by a score from Ever Delatorre in the 42nd minute. Nomads had an own goal in the 53rd minute, and Armando Flores (former “Sueño” winner, and no, I don’t mean Jorge Villafana) notched a goal of his own in the 72nd minute. The win leaves them in 5th place in their division, two points within Strikers – they are making up ground, but still have some ground to cover in the homestretch of the season. Still, a good result for them!

2012 Sueño MLS Winner is from Santa Ana

This year’s Sueño ML winner is Armando Flores. Sueño MLS is a competition for recruiting top soccer talent. The first-ever winner of the competition is Chivas USA’s Jorge Villafaña who also played in a Santa Ana youth league.

Flores will now join the Chivas USA youth academy and continue his development with the hope of making the first team in the future.

In related news, Jimmy Camacho, who was born in Santa Ana and played with Armando Flores on Santa Ana youth teams, was awarded an Allstate Best Goalkeeper trophy.

Fore more click here and here.

The U.S. Open Cup Comes to Santa Ana

Yes, this is a pretty big deal. The Open Cup is the United States’s longest running, nationwide soccer tournament. This tourney involves amateur and professional leagues including the NPSL, USL, NASL and MLS. Our former Santa Ana Winds of the National Premier Soccer League, now for some bizarre and inexcusable reason called the Fullerton Rangers, will open US Open Cup play at Santa Ana stadium against the Ventura County Fusion on Tuesday, May 15.

It’s nice to have an Open Cup match in Santa Ana, it would be sweeter if they had kept the Santa Ana name! I almost want to tell you guys to take your cup match to some place in Fullerton.

Why Chivas USA and Major League Soccer Need to Move to Santa Ana

Things are abuzz in Santa Ana and beyond concerning a potential Chivas USA move here. A decision and announcement may be made midway through this year. Every city and its politicians that is in the running is likely making its case and putting its best foot forward in order to be picked for a move, maybe one more than another. Well here are some reasons why Santa Ana is the right fit for Chivas USA and MLS.

  1. Santa Ana is an overwhelmingly soccer town. The sport is immensely popular here with countless youth and adult leagues.
  2. A Chivas USA spokesperson said that a move would be determined by what area is best not only for the team, but also for its partners and sponsors. So partners would look for strategic opportunities to cross promote. Santa Ana is in the Disneyland neighborhood. A stadium here would share the same route (Harbor Blvd) to Disneyland. The opportunities to cross-promote with the Anaheim-based Angels of Major League Baseball and the Ducks of the National Hockey League are endless.
  3. Other promotional opportunities exist here. Santa Ana has the largest Fiestas Patrias event in Southern California, and outside of Mexico according to event organizers. Want to grow a market? Go after that foot traffic. But don’t take it from me, take it from Budweiser, Time Warner, AT&T etc etc. You know, BIG corporations that advertise at Santa Ana events like this. Last year’s attendance is estimated at 250,000. The Fiestas Patrias are coupled with highly recognizable international, especially Mexican, musical acts. We’ve had in the past Aleks Syntek, Moderatto, Molotov, and Fobia to name some. The festivities are capped off on Sunday with a parade, coming down a long stretch of Main Street. Put it this way, the parade rivals the East LA parade in content and scale.
  4. As if Fiestas Patrias weren’t enough, there are at least two other major events with large draws in the downtown which are the Cinco de Mayo celebration (of which Fobia was a part of last year), and the Noche de Altares event, which has grown into enormity, taking up at least two blocks of Fourth Street. Even though it’s in November It’s an opportunity to reach thousands of people and build a market. If they make the postseason, even better.
  5. Santa Ana has an endless youth talent pool, enough to feed a pro team for decades. In fact, other clubs have come scouting and developing here. It has its reputation and attracts players from other cities (like Anaheim native Jorge Villafaña of Chivas USA) and the players at the very reputable Santa Ana College program.
  6. Install base. Santa Ana doesn’t have to wait around for events to take place, which only helps promotional matters. Realistically, Santa Ana is a city of over 350,000 people, and roughly 80 percent is Hispanic of Mexican origin.
  7. Greater Santa Ana. When you couple Anaheim, another city over 350,000 people, which recently became majority Latino and neighboring Santa Ana, you get the ideal market that Chivas USA is looking for. And this is before you include the numerous Latino / Mexican-American populations of nearby Orange (El Modena), Garden Grove, Fullerton and Placentia.
  8. LA region. Santa Ana makes up part of the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is defined as Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana. The name Santa Ana is visible from Downtown LA, it’s already recognizable to angelinos. When angelinos drive south, they’re headed on the Interstate 5 / Santa Ana Freeway.
  9. La Chiva Casa. I challenge anyone in any place in LA or Greater LA to find a house with a Chivas theme. Santa Ana’s Chiva Casa is located on the corner of Flower and Wilshire.

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Santa Ana Winds FC rebrands and moves to Fullerton, sort of

The Santa Ana Winds of the National Premier Soccer League rebranded themselves as the Fullerton Rangers for the upcoming 2012 NPSL season. The rationale behind the move is the opportunity to tap into the young talent pool of the reputable Fullerton Rangers academy. The Fullerton Rangers U-15 squad recently won the Dallas Cup, which is a well-known international youth tournament.

The challenge for the Fullerton Rangers pro side is solidifying Fullerton as their home, it seems. Their first match for the 2012 season will be held at Santa Ana Stadium against FC Hasental. It’s unclear whether the Rangers will face scheduling conflicts at Cal State Fullerton’s Titan Stadium, where they’re supposed to play, with another new pro side, the LA Blues of the USL PRO league.

The former Santa Ana Winds FC went the route of the Orange County Blue Star, a club that never really established itself firmly and truthfully in Santa Ana. It was an ill-fated project to begin with due to the lack of a well-planned vertical structure combining a youth academy and a professional side using one brand. The ownership wasn’t all that well established or identified with Santa Ana either apparently. The project overall was seemingly an attempt to capitalize on the Santa Ana soccer market, one coveted by some pro clubs and still an option for a potential Chivas USA relocation, but it was never a product of here. It never had Santa Ana grassroots.

And Meanwhile in Major League Soccer

Last night the city of San Jose, CA cleared a hurdle for the San Jose Earthquakes allowing them to move one step closer towards groundbreaking on their new stadium.

The crucial vote passed 6-0 after review and denial of one critical resident’s appeal. More on the story here.

In Houston, the Dynamo and their ownership group Anschutz Entertainment Group and Golden Boy Promotions, secured a stadium sponsor for their new stadium opening in May of 2012. The stadium will be named BBVA Compass Park. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya (BBVA) of Spain is a bank with a global presence. BBVA also sponsors Spain’s La Liga aka Liga BBVA, which is currently the world’s most dominant football (soccer) league. For more on this story click here.

And so it is becoming more and more common for stronger brands to sponsor the league and teams. San Jose’s planning commission got the point. There is growth in all aspects whether its franchises, fan base, or media outreach. This season the MLS arrives on NBC in addition to its usual contracts with Fox, ESPN and Univision.

These examples are more reasons for Santa Ana City Council to be bold in working to acquire, secure and finalize a Chivas USA and MLS move here, and most importantly, look to the future.