Could a second professional soccer team in Southern California be looking to build their own stadium?
LAFC's soccer-specific stadium in Los Angeles is getting all of the press coverage, but USL side Orange County Blues, who currently play at UC Irvine's Anteater Stadium, may also be looking to get a stadium.
That information comes from a profile of Blues technical director Barry Venison in The Telegraph on Monday. Though the profile primarily focuses on the former English Premier League player, there are some tidbits about the Blues included, with Venison's comments about a stadium being very newsworthy indeed.
"We're in the process of having a stadium approved and built - hopefully by the end of next year. It will be a 6,000-seater stadium in Great Park, Irvine, which will be in a huge complex of 688 acres that will have a training facility, 22 fields, a golf course, houses and a hotel."
The Goat Parade reached out to the Blues on Venison's discussion of a stadium, but a team spokesman declined to comment on a stadium project.
A stadium for the Blues would obviously be a big deal on a number of fronts. Having a capacity of even 6,000 would be fairly ambitious for a team that is among the lowest in the league among non MLS2 sides in attendance. It would, however, give the organization some growth as Anteater Stadium's capacity (featuring concrete bleachers) is only around 3,000 at the moment.
And having a stadium built would be a very clear indication of OC's staying power. While the product on the field is perhaps better than it's ever been, with the team in the playoffs and vying for top seed in the Western Conference under Venison and head coach/general manager Oliver Wyss, there have been questions about the viability of the club playing in a large market with an MLS team nearby (and another on the way at some point), playing in a small college stadium, and following the folding of the affiliated and very successful LA Blues W-League side, reportedly due to financial concerns.
So would a stadium be a big deal? It certainly would. Given that Venison felt confident enough to talk about it publicly, one figures the team must be pretty far along in the process, but that's conjecture given the team's reluctance to talk about it officially yet. Still, we'll be on top of the story as it develops.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!