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Sampson: 'They just got it completely wrong'
by Ridge Mahoney, February 20th, 2014 9:18PM

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TAGS:  chivas usa, los angeles galaxy, mls

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[CHIVAS USA SALE: Reaction] Forgotten in recent years, as Chivas USA has faded, is that Chivas USA did have support in the early years. The Chivas-LA Galaxy rivalry was the Super Clasico for a reason, as Steve Sampson, the Galaxy coach at the time, explains.

“When I was the [Galaxy] coach in 2005 -- and we played them literally five times that year -- every single game was a sellout,” says Sampson, the former U.S. and Galaxy head coach who speaks fluent Spanish and works as a commentator for Galaxy telecasts on Time Warner Cable Deportes. “The enthusiasm and the excitement and the atmosphere around those games was truly great. But they lost all that when they lost their identity.”

“In the first few years, when they truly marketed the team as a Chivas team, they had a tremendous rivalry with the Galaxy. Those games actually had meaning and they actually competed quite effectively. When they began to lose their identity, by being cheap and not respecting the quality that truly existed in MLS by bringing subpar talent, they slowly began to lose their market share and to lose money and lost connection with the community.

"Chivas USA never had, in my opinion, a true identity. They not only didn’t relate to the Hispanic community in Los Angeles, but it was very confusing to the Anglo community, the non-Hispanic community."

"From day one, if they had just stuck to their game plan -- to be a Latin-based team and truly represent the Chivas name -- I think they would have been successful. But when you have a majority of Latin players and a non-Latin coach, it gets confusing. Then you have the reverse: non-Latin players and a Latin coach, and it doesn’t make for very good chemistry, and it doesn’t send a very good message to the community.

"They just got it completely wrong. If they would have had a vast majority of Latin-American players, they would have had great success. And along with that, you have to have an Hispanic coach who could communicate effectively to both the Spanish-speaking and non-Spanish-speaking player."


5 comments
  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: February 21, 2014 at 8:28 a.m.
    DUMB to have a "latin-american" team. Do we have "white" teams and "black" teams ? racist.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: February 21, 2014 at 1:47 p.m.
    I completely agree with Sampson, and it would behoove MLS/Garber to appoint him as the head honcho of the Club. At this juncture in time I really cannot id anyone else as competent as Sampson, having known him for almost 40 years, from his days at UCLA as a student and AC, to the US Soccer Coaching schools, and WC USA 1994, Cal South, and other NSCAA activities to include the Latin American Soccer Coaches Association for which he was a confidant and adviser, I really cannot point out anyone else to right the Chivas ship. Lastly, Steve's command of the language AND the Los Angeles region, is indeed the right fit.

  1. Glenn Maddock
    commented on: February 24, 2014 at 1:53 a.m.
    Sampson has it completely wrong! Racially based teams do not work in the current soccer world anymore. Maybe 20 years ago, but not today. And American soccer fans do not want to see those kind of teams either. Having a "Mexican" club in an American League was a stupid idea in 2005 & looks even dumber now. The quicker they can remove that stupid name the better

  1. Dave Kantor
    commented on: February 25, 2014 at 8:25 a.m.
    While I agree with Ric about Steve Sampson deserving another run as MLS coach, I totally agree with Glenn and Amos that having a racially based team just doesn't make sense in our contemporary world. Frankly I was surprised that the idea was tried at all - couldn't Chivas have been sued for discrimination against non-Latino players? They should move the franchise to one of the many cities that want an MLS team, and move on from a failed experiment.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: February 25, 2014 at 6:24 p.m.
    It appears to me that some have really not understood what I said about Sampson, or perhaps I did not make myself clear enough, and that is to have MLS/Garber/Abbott appoint him as the president/GM of the club and let Wilmer Cabrera coach the team. Further, the current make-up of the team, i.e. roster, list the majority of the players listing their "origin" as being from the US, while there is a handful of Latino players - I believe at last count six - from mexico, Argentina and Peru, and of course the recent UK/European signings. Also, per Garber's statement, the club will be changing names sooner than later, naming a new guy (hopefully it is Sampson) to run the team, and announce who the new owners will be, and lastly, the team is staying put in Los Angeles. And, Dave, I don't foresee Sampson coaching another MLS team, and Chivas was indeed sued by three players for discrimination, but I understand that Vergara settled out of court.


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