Mon. Sep 26th, 2022

To understand the true genius that is the idea behind putting the Chivas Soccer Stadium complex at the site of the Willowick Golf Course, you have to look at the Google satellite map of the area.  You see that diagonal grey line that abuts the north side of Willowick and runs from Garden Grove to Santa Ana Blvd.?  That is the old P&E Santa Ana line.  It is an abandoned rail line.  And it is where Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido wants to run a new street car system.

Now it all makes sense.  I thought the street car idea was pretty lame until I connected the dots – this new light rail system will begin at the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center, where the Metrolink trains currently stop, over on the east of Downtown Santa Ana, and stretch all the way to downtown Garden Grove.  And it will bring Chivas fans to the new Stadium complex.

Take a look at the neighborhoods surrounding Willowick.  This is a very blue collar area.  The new light rail/street car will transform all of the neighborhoods lining the old P&E line.  And the new Chivas Soccer Stadium Complex will be a game changer.  I am told that it will include recreational facilities for our youth.

Think about the big picture.  The Chivas U.S. soccer club is a professional sports franchise.  It will be Santa Ana’s first pro team.  It will put us on the map – and soccer is the most popular game in the world.  Here in the U.S. it is the most popular youth sport.

The street car to Garden Grove will also give our residents direct access to a cluster of colleges, including Cal State Fullerton’s Extension campus.

What is the downside?  I don’t see it.  The street car system would be funded by Measure M and federal grants.

There is already a precedent for this in San Diego, where a light rail system delivers fans to the San Diego Chargers Stadium.

The opposition to this project is comprised of a cluster of mostly white Republicans – none of whom live near the Willowick Golf Course.  The Voice of OC recently provided us with a list of some of these malcontents:

  • Tim Rush – not married, no kids, lives in south Santa Ana.  Registered Republican.
  • Tom Lutz – married but retired, lives by Santa Ana College.  Registered Republican.
  • Don Cribb – lives in the Park Santiago neighborhood, in north Santa Ana.  Not married, no kids.
  • Alfredo Amezcua – lives in Morrison Park.  Divorced.  Kids are grown up.  Registered Democrat.
  • Thomas Gordon – lives in south Santa Ana.  Not married.  No kids.  Registered Republican.
  • Dave Brandt – lives in south Santa Ana.  Retired.  Registered Republican.
  • Debbie McEwen – lives in French Park, where she once tried to keep Mexicans out with traffic barriers, which had to be torn out after the ACLU won a lawsuit against the City.  Not married.  No kids.

A friend of mine recently attended a meeting of these malcontent “Usual Suspects.  I asked my friend what they talked about.  The response was just as I figured, “they talked about how Mexicans always leave trash and diapers behind.”

As usual, the opposition to the Chivas soccer team and soccer complex is rooted in overt racism.  That should not come as a surprise given the folks who are involved and given that most of them are Republicans.  I don’t know what possessed Amezcua to join hands with these xenophobic haters.  Bad move Al!

These folks are crying about traffic and noise – and are saying that the Chivas will push Santa Ana High School and Santa Ana College football games out of Eddie West Stadium.  The truth is that the Chivas will play at that facility but only until the new complex at Willowick is built.  The Santa  Ana City Council will work with the SAUSD School Board and the Rancho Santiago Community College District’s Board of Education to make sure that the school football teams are accomodated.  Pulido has allies on both of those elected bodies.  The City of Santa Ana has good relationships with both school districts.

As for traffic, the fact is that many Santa Ana residents will get to Eddie West field on foot, by bike and on the bus.  Eddie West Stadium has limited capacity.  I expect each Chivas game to be a total sell-out.

The good news for the school districts is that there will be improvements made to Eddie West Stadium that will benefit the school teams, at no cost to them.

It has been suggested that the Chivas soccer complex be built in east Santa Ana.  But when you consider the implications of the proposed street car system, it is obvious that Willowick is a slam dunk.

Will the City of Garden Grove, which owns Willowick, play ball?  You bet.  The street car system will bring new customers to their downtown, revitalizing that area too.  You think the restaurant owners in their downtown will be opposed to that?  No way!

By Editor

Art Pedroza started Orange County's first political blog, the Orange Juice, back in 2003. He now publishes the top civic blog in Orange County - New Santa Ana, plus other blogs including New Anaheim, New Fullerton and the Irvine News Blog, as well as the OC Politics Blog.

52 thoughts on “Why the Chivas Soccer Stadium should be built at the Willowick Golf Course”
  1. Eddie West Stadium currently has a capacity of 9,000 spectators. Plans include expanding the stadium to 15,000 seating capacity. I don’t know what they plan to do about additional parking.

    1. junior,

      Eddie West Stadium is literally ringed by parking lots. The extra capacity will be a nice gift to the school sports teams that use the facility. SAUSD also holds graduations there.

      How is this a problem?

  2. The potential upside for having Chivas USA move to our city is incredible. The area surrounding the stadium could be redeveloped bringing in restaurants and other amenities to serve the fans attending the games.

    Also the MLS broadcasts on national outlets like ESPN and ABC not to mention regionally on Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket. This will help showcase our community in a possitive fashion and perhaps bring new investment into Santa Ana and the surrounding area.

    Big kudos to Mayor Pulido and the others if they are indeed working to do this.

  3. “How is this a problem? ”

    I didn’t indicate that I thought that this was a problem or not – just providing info.

  4. Admin said: “Well Junior, thanks for verifying what a great deal this will be for Santa Ana’s residents!”

    As I indicated above Admin, I am not expressing an opinion either way at this time.

  5. “It has been suggested that the Chivas soccer complex be built in east Santa Ana. But when you consider the implications of the proposed street car system, it is obvious that Willowick is a slam dunk.” Admin

    If you look at your Google maps, you will see that the proposed street car systems goes to the train station too, and has the added bonus of freeway access, car pool access, bus access (OCTA, Greyhound, Trail ways) Train access (Amtrak and metro link) Even room for a helicopter pad (add air access)

    Except for the helo and trolley, the other transportation infrastructures are already in place.

    The difference between “Willowick” and the “station district east” is “the finders fee”

    Another bonus, such a sports entertainment complex would require an EIR calling for traffic improvements, in other words the long awaited for grand ave expansion could be completed at the same time.

    And for all of those removed from their homes in the area of the east train district, there is the opportunity of a nice new housing tract that could be built on Garden Groves property that sits in the middle of a residential area.

    There was a reason the Santa Ana Pond lost out to the Anaheim Pond, so the thinking of Eddie West field as a site is still a losers pick.

    Now take 3 sheets of blank paper and draw a cross on each, write pro on one side and con on the other and title each sheet, one Willowick, one Eddie West, and one East Train. Fill out your pro’s and con’s and see for yourself where the best location for a sports entertainment complex in Santa Ana.

    Of course there are other spots too, like the abandon orange grove on Santa Clara near the graveyard or the lawn bowling center in Santiago park, or the empty food for less in the old Zody’s complex on N Grand.

    1. cook,

      Eddie West will be a temporary home for the Chivas. They will eventually have a new soccer stadium complex at Willowick.

      It makes no sense to put the soccer complex at the Xerox site. That is just plain ridiculous.

      We may have lost out on the Anaheim Pond, but we won’t be losing out on the Chivas.

  6. I didn’t think of the area at 4th and the 5 freeway, but that area is better than GG property too. (I was thinking about east of train station and west of the Register paper, right off the freeway.

    Heck, there would not be any residential relocation at that 4th and Cabrillo site, and with the businesses on all 4 sides, there would be a natural buffer for the Mabury Park residential area too.

    There is even room for a rail yard to hold , work on and store the trolley cars, just extend the trolley another ¼ mile east

    1. That is not going to happen Cook. This is an opportunity to bring positive change to parts of our city that really need it. The area you are talking about would be more appropriate for office buildings.

  7. Willowick is much better than Eddie West, it is right by the 22, but it seems unclear how many years for construction? A different team with our own Santa Ana name would make a world of difference. It would have been truly progressive. I played soccer. I attended Galaxy and a Chivas U.S.A. game. If the Chivas fans act like they are rooting for Mexico, and hate U.S. teams, I won’t go. That is not Racism on my part. That is New Santa Ana Pride talking. No drunken comments tonight Admin! Try to get some sleep.

  8. shwoo. O.k. up and Sober. One last point Admin, In the World Cup, Did California “Chivas fans” support the U.S. team even when the were not playing Mexico or competing with Mexico? A few yes, but most, probably not. I have a feeling this debate is going to get ugly. And rightly so. This is not just about Mayoral dealings. Have a good morning.

  9. What about the people who live there? Willowick is surrounded on all sides by residential housing.

    Didn’t fly in the 90’s.

  10. I don’t really give a rats a@% where they build the stadium. (Put it in Jack Fisher Park for all I care) but I do take exception with you discounting the opinions of those who don’t have kids or whose kids are grown. I know a fellow on the Planning Commission who is a single, middle aged man still living with his mom but I happen to think he’s a good guy and I respect his opinion and would vote for him for city council or school board in Santa Ana.

  11. Eddie West Stadium is literally ringed by parking lots. The extra capacity will be a nice gift to the school sports teams that use the facility. SAUSD also holds graduations there.

    I believe the City Council should also look at the racist neighborhood traffic policies. (Would be a great subject for a post I think) Why should the residents of Santa Ana have to deal with parking permit areas and street diverters which were put in place mostly by Anglos when they had the majority on the City Council to keep Latinos from driving or parking in their neighborhoods. If you allowed parking in Washington Square for instance, you would have no problem dealing with Chivas parking until their new stadium in Willowick is completed. Remove those stupid divertors on the edge of Wilshire Square, and French Park Park and allow traffic to flow freely. Open up Flower street to Northbound traffic at 17th and open up Santa Clara at either end and take the pressure off of other streets. The City Council has the power to do this and should.

  12. and one more thing…why do we still have the racist front yard fence law in Santa Ana? You know the one that says I can’t build a fence in my front yard unless it’s the kind the Gringos like to look at! I happen to be in the wrought iron business and could build a great looking, high quality block/wroght iron fence to keep my kids and dogs safe but the white people in my “historic” Wilshire square neighborhood say it offends their Western European sensibilities! I say good fences make good neighbors! This Council could give us back our fence building freedoms and should.

  13. Bolsa Grande,

    The planning commission is pretty diverse, with the exception of gender. The anti-Chivas NIMBYs are not. They are all cut from the same bitter cloth.

  14. I hope that Chivas is not counting on whitey soccer families from south county supporting their soccer team – because that aint going to happen. As evidenced by the constantly dismal attendance of south county high school football fans at their football games vs. Mater Dei at Eddie West.

    Whitey will not drive more than 2 blocks from a freeway through Santa Ana to attend a soccer game – and whitey will NOT use mass transportation – forget the trolley/light rail for whitey.

  15. The previous comment is courtesy of Mike Tardif owner of Tardif Sheet Metal in Santa Ana. Does that sound like someone you’d hire?

  16. wheres junior??,

    Facts are stuborn things – apparently you can’t handle the truth or even know what it is.

  17. Speaking of facts, it is a fact that you, junior, are Mike Tardif owner of Tardif Sheet Metal. People need to know that fact so they know what type of person you really are before they hire you.

  18. Hey Tardif how come you aren’t on the anti-Chivas committee with all your friends? Did Lutz not realize that you’re that asshole junior and not invite to the Klan rally that he and Nancy threw?

  19. You can stop speaking of Tardif in the third person already. You’re not fooling anyone Mike.

  20. My ears were burning – did someone mention my name?

    Hey “wheres junior?” –

    junior asked you what type of person you think that I am – you did not answer him.

    So I am asking you – what type of person do you think that I am? – or what type of person do you think that junior is? – or what type of person do you think that junior/Mike Tardif is if you believe that they are one in the same person?

    And please be specific – cite chapter and verse – not your usual adhominem attack.

  21. Man forget fighting the soccer field, with resume’s like those these cats should be running for School Board in Santa Ana.

    Considering the current President is a childless white guy in his early fifties, he fit’s PERFECTLY with the average SAUSD family…..NOT.

  22. Tardif can you possibly make yourself look anymore ridiculous? Everytime your carry on a conversation in the third person you just look like a kook. Where’s your family? They really should intervene at this point.

  23. “And you look ridiculous arguing about people rather than issues.”

    Says the person leading a one man jihad against a planning commissioner. Hello pot, this is the kettle.

  24. Kenlay do they allow the SAUSD Board Members to drink at the meetings now? If they do you may be on to something and Tom Lush, sorry I meant, Tom Lutz just might run.

  25. “Says the person leading a one man jihad against a planning commissioner.”

    I am calling for accountability based on his public statements which are in violation of the Santa Ana Code of Ethics and Conduct.

  26. I read your screed that you keep posting everywhere and Mills did not violate anything. You regularly attack Mills, Pedroza and their friends using your alter ego junior. Be a man a debate him on the issues and stop being such a pussy. If you don’t want to be called out for positions you have taken stay out of the arena.

  27. Admin, do you really think Santa Ana families are going to spring for $30.00 each soccer tickets? This isn’t the zoo or bowers where you can get your family in for free. If Chivas needs a high capacity stadium, CSUF has an old football stadium that will wok just fine

  28. If Willowick golf course is not to your liking, then why not build the soccer stadium at Riverview Golf course? It’s a sad excuse of a gold course anyway and gets partly flooded out each year. We could widen Santa Clara st. for better access from Bristol (can’t cost much to buy up and bulldoze those cracker boxes some call houses that are there) We could build a new high school in Riverview park (making one section a dog park) and start a weekend mercado (what used to be called a swap meet) in the stadium parking lot. That could pay for the stadium along with the car shows and sidewalk sales.

  29. “You regularly attack Mills, Pedroza and their friends using your alter ego junior ..”

    And who the f**k are you? You got some balls calling Tardif a pussy – at least he does debate using his name.

  30. Bolsa Grande,

    You have the right idea – new major stadiums need to be close to freeways – clogged city streets don’t cut it. That leaves both Eddie West Stadium and Willowick out of the picture.

  31. Again with the third party use of your name…Cuckoo…Cuckoo.

    Why don’t you just pick one name to use when debating? It will stop the confusion you have in your mind and will help prevent people from thinking you are nuts.

  32. Temper, temper Mikey.

    Do customers of Tardif Sheet Metal get to hear you use that type of language?

  33. I hear that Tardif is shaking in his boots that anonymous blogger on a pissant blog is saying bad things about him – NOT!

  34. I like the build it in Riverside idea. The last thing we need is more soccer in Orange County tearing up our parks and school fields. By the way who is paying for the uptake on the damage to our fields every weekend? Have you seen what a weekend of soccer does to a field?
    Leave Willow wick alone it’s a landmark.

  35. I just saw this moron over at the voice of OCEA write about parks again, he references recent gang activity in the Logan neighborhood.

    Washburn, the Logan Barrio has been a tough spot since the 1930’s, in fact it was known as that. It’s home to some scrappy history but EVERYBODY thier knows that and knew that. This cat writes like Irvine just got an infiltrated by gangs. What a ball licker.

  36. “Admin, do you really think Santa Ana families are going to spring for $30.00 each soccer tickets?”


    Do you think Santa Ana families are springing out the cash to play golf at Willowick? Tickets to Chivas USA games are more affordable than a round of golf at Willowick. The majority of tickets for Chivas USA games are between $30 and $15. A round of golf at Willowick is $25 Monday-Friday and $37 on weekends and holidays. If you throw in a cart it is an additional $24.

    Chivas USA also currently has group rates and offers a family pack. The family packs start at $59 and include “(4) four tickets PLUS your choice of (1) one parking pass or (4) four hot dogs!”. You have the option to add more tickets to the plan as well. I have no doubt that they will make this affordable for the families in the community, much more affordable than golf currently is.

    Chivas USA also does tremendous outreach to youth soccer programs throughout the area. In fact they are already partnering with youth soccer right here in Santa Ana. If they come to our community that partnership will only increase to the benefit of our youth and community.

  37. For the racists out there

    Chivas USA has a team of mostly americans (75%) that plans on one day fielding a team of all southern california players. The stadium will probably be capable of holding concerts, and other events too. The team will also create a facility for their academy teams/practices and outdoor fields that can be used by the public.

  38. NO MORE NO MORE SOCCER! Use the money to repair and keep our school fields grass healthy for our children to play in. Or designate certain schools and parks for soccer that way all the parks and school fields do not get all messed up. I see some parks every few months needing to put up fences so the grass can get healthy, what do you think happens once the fences come down?

    1. Don’t be silly. Soccer is the number one sport in THE WORLD. Turf can be prepped for soccer and for other uses.

      If the fields are not being maintained well don’t blame soccer. Blame the groundskeepers.

  39. im sorry but love williowick and think killing a little of nature in the barrio is bad bringing soccer stadium and trash and drunken fans is the stupidity of money hungry people

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