MLS made it official on Monday. Following their final game on Sunday, Chivas USA ceases operations. The 2005 MLS expansion club is no more, with MLS planning on announcing a new investor/operator for a new Los Angeles-based club on October 30th. That new MLS club won’t play until 2017.
“As part of our new Los Angeles strategy, we will launch a new MLS Los Angeles club for the 2017 season and will announce the new team’s ownership group later this week. I believe strongly that a new MLS Los Angeles team with passionate local ownership and an inclusive approach targeting all soccer/sports fans will be very successful. While I will wait until Thursday’s formal announcement to get into specific details, I can assure you that this new team will have world-class ownership with local connections and residency and a commitment to a new soccer stadium in the greater Los Angeles area,” MLS commissioner Don Garber wrote in a letter to Chivas USA fans.
The MLS Players Union also released a statement.
“Real change has been needed for many years with respect to the Chivas franchise,” MLSPU executive director Bob Foose said. “Therefore, we are not surprised by today’s announcement. The cessation of operations presents obvious challenges for the former Chivas players, and we are working with the league to make their transition to other teams as smooth as possible. Fortunately, with two new teams starting league play next year, there will be more opportunities for these players to continue to showcase their talents in MLS. We look forward to working with the new franchise when it re-enters MLS. The Los Angeles market can and will successfully support two MLS teams, and we are confident that the new franchise will learn from the mistakes made by Chivas, and will be successful in every way.”
Chivas USA won the MLS Western Conference in 2007, their third season in the league. Over their ten seasons in MLS, Chivas USA made the playoffs four times from 2006 to 2009. They finished 7th in the Western Conference in 2014. MLS operated the club throughout their final season, appointing former league executive Nelson Rodriguez as club president.
In a letter to fans of Chivas USA, Rodriguez wrote, “History will say many things about Chivas USA, but the one, undeniable truth will be that in every instance – no matter the circumstance, setting or outcome – our resiliency was supported by the indomitable spirit of our most loyal and proud fans.”