Soccer is so important to my heart, to the community here in Santa Ana… – Kenney Aguilar, Director, Santa Ana Police Athletic and Activities League
The LA Galaxy and the Santa Ana Police Athletic and Activities League recently opened a mini soccer, or futsal, pitch at Jackson Elementary School (right next to Windsor Park, in Ward 4, east of the Santa Ana River and north of Centennial Park) in Santa Ana. Galaxy striker Giovanni Dos Santos was in attendance for the official ribbon cutting.
So what does this all mean? It’s marketing, for one. The mini soccer pitch is marked with a large LA Galaxy logo in the middle of it, and all kids in attendance were given t-shirts with Galaxy logos as if to say, “property of LA Galaxy,” or “this is Galaxy country,” etc.
It’s not the first time that the Galaxy has made its presence in Santa Ana. The Galaxy has placed ads on billboards, buses and bus stops, for years, in Santa Ana. The Galaxy and the SAPD have a longtime relationship with kids being taken to the StubHub to watch games. They have an “official” pub at the Olde Ship near Santa Ana College. This further demonstrates the importance of the Santa Ana soccer market, just in case there are any doubters left out there.
Santa Ana College Dons coach José Vásquez played for the Galaxy and set a record with them way back at the beginnings of the league, current Galaxy defender Robbie Rogers played at Mater Dei, and these reveal more Santa Ana-Galaxy ties.
So why hasn’t a team calling itself “Orange County’s pro team,” meaning the Orange County Blues, done the kind of marketing and outreach that the Galaxy has done here, for years? Why is Santa Ana good enough for the Galaxy, but not the OC Blues? Do the OC Blues need the Galaxy’s permission to market in Santa Ana? Given that MLS and USL have an agreement not to compete with each other, except for the in the seasonal US Open Cup, this may be the case. Like I’ve said, the failure of that team to realize the importance of the Santa Ana soccer market shows in their attendance.
Santa Ana is an important soccer market, this is an exhausted fact. This is something that the North American Soccer League needs to take seriously if they’re going to setup an expansion team in Orange County, which is rumored to be in the works. It’s one thing for the Galaxy to setup a mini soccer pitch in Santa Ana, it would be a much greater move to setup a pro club at Santa Ana Stadium, and the NASL has the opportunity to do this, because neither MLS nor USL will. They haven’t shown the will to do so.