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Los Angeles awarded new MLS club set to begin play in 2017

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MLS wasted no time moving on from Chivas USA, announcing a new Los Angeles-based club with plenty of star power behind it.

MLS officially announced on Monday that it has awarded a new franchise to a large ownership group led by Henry Nguyen, Peter Guber and Tom Penn. The group consists of 22 owners, including NBA great Earvin “Magic” Johnson, former U.S. Women’s National Team player Mia Hamm Garciaparra and retired MLB player Nomar Garciaparra, Hamm’s husband.

The team, whose Los Angeles Football Club name and colors are just being used as placeholders, is expected to begin play in 2017 in a new soccer stadium in the Southern California city.

“We are thrilled to welcome Henry Nguyen, Peter Guber, Tom Penn and their owner partners to Major League Soccer,” said MLS commissioner Don Garber in a statement released by the league.  “This visionary ownership group will chart a course that will further elevate the sport in this great city and, combined with a new state-of-the-art stadium, accelerate us down the path toward becoming one of the top soccer leagues in the world.”

The 2017 start date means the club will enter MLS at the same time as the expansion Atlanta club that was announced earlier this year. It will mark a new era for soccer in Los Angeles, as the franchise is expected to compete with the LA Galaxy much better than the now-defunct Chivas USA.

Nguyen, Guber and Penn were the owners to take most of the spotlight on Thursday as the club was officially announced in Los Angeles. Nguyen will serve as the managing partner, Guber as the executive chairman, and Penn as the president.

The three men have from varying backgrounds. Nguyen, who was born in Vietnam but moved to the United States at a young age, is a venture capitalist who graduated from Harvard University. Guber is, among other things, the owner of NBA’s Golden State Warriors and co-owner of MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers. Penn is a former NBA executive and current ESPN analyst.

“The business of sports and entertainment is all about winning on the field and providing an exciting product that will develop a passionate and loyal fan base,” said Guber in the same statement.  “The Los Angeles market has millions of soccer supporters, and we know that this new team can fulfill the promise of success on the field and provide a great experience for our fans.”

Along with Nguyen, Guber, Penn, Johnson, Hamm Garciaparra and Garciaparra, the club’s ownership group consists of Ruben Gnanalingam, Vincent Tan, Tony Robbins, Larry Berg, Allen Shapiro, Chad Hurley, Rick Welts, Bennett Rosenthal, Kirk Lacob, Mark Leschly, Mike Mahan, Irwin Raij, Paul Schaeffer, Brandon Schneider, Jason Sugarman and Harry Tsao.

It is anticipated that a few more prominent owners will be added to the laundry list shortly.

The club’s brand identity, front office, coaching and administrative staff will be announced at later dates.

The news comes just three days after MLS officially dissolved Chivas USA, a club that struggled to make its mark on the field and in the Los Angeles market since its inaugural season in 2005 due in part to the idea of only pandering to a specific demographic for its fanbase.

“Los Angeles is a diverse, vibrant market with millions of soccer fans,” said Garber, “and we look forward to an intense rivalry between the Galaxy and Los Angeles Football Club.”


What do you think of this club and its ownership group? Do you see them posing a big threat to the Galaxy? What should the team name and colors be, or should they stick with what they currently have?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Does the new team get the Chivas academy? I would think that would be a good asset to have and to start building the club. So they have 3 years before they first team plays. Maybe they can add a PDL team. One it helps build that base of players and it get’s the club name out in the market. Probably won’t happen, but in a perfect world, have a PDL team next year 2015 and a USL Pro team in 2016. Helps you build the club both on and off the field.

  2. Paul Schaffer?
    Is this the world’s most dangerous band? (Of owners)?

    Maybe all these guys own property where the stadium will sit. It’s ownership for land. What a deal!

  3. Name ideas, color ideas.
    Hollywood stars
    Hollywood united
    Hollywood red dragons
    Los Angeles universe or universal
    Inter Los Angeles
    Los Angeles stars
    Inter Hollywood fc
    Colors just make those units sexy with sexy colors.
    Now garber expand to 26 teams, add Sacramento and Minneapolis, then Miami and Vegas, and if possible bring my cosmos instead of red bull.

    • Anything with a real name and not copying of some euro name. No FC, NO,Real, no sporting all new teams should be banned from using thise in its name.

      Any truth that the Sting is coming back and going to downtown Chgo ?

      • i would love chicago to rebrand n move downtown.
        the name of chicago blue stars would be nice or chicago empire.

      • really how n why, wtf. its our hollywood 🙂
        what about hollywood stars, hollywood united, socal hollywood, inter hollywood.

  4. This is a cash grab for the league, same as NYCFC. There are exactly zero metrics that suggest the LA area can support two pro teams, and yet no one fought harder than Garber to establish a second club in LA. God knows why – oh wait, I think I just saw a parade of twenty two millionaires stroll up on stage and put scarves on that said MLS.

    Good luck in Anaheim.

    • I have one metric: 18 million potential fans in greater LA, half of which are Latino.

      And here’s another thing to consider: the Gals are virtually unknown in LA, yet they’re a perennial powerhouse in the league and have a remarkable academy. Garber must be thinking, “what if someone in this massive market, filled with exciting young talent, actually made a splash?” Not a Robbie Keane splash. I mean, a SPLASH. Garber knows that although markets like Portland have been great to the league, there’s no upside. LA has upside beyond anything we’ve ever seen in North American soccer. We just need an exciting ownership group to take on that challenge. Maybe this motley crew will come through.

      • Do you mean a splash like signing David Beckham? The problem is that there are only a few soccer players in the world that have global recognition and Messi and Ronaldo aren’t coming to the US for a long time.

      • Stinky Pete — Of course players are part of that splash, but I’m thinking bigger picture. The Galaxy have proven that you can be successful in MLS and still not tap make a dent in the LA sports market. Everyone I know in Portland and Seattle knows and loves their MLS squads. The majority of LA people can’t name anyone on the Galaxy…

        So yes, LAFC needs to make Beckham-like signings, but they also need to focus on rolling out a club infrastructure – stadium, academy, marketing strategy — that captures the attention of soccer fans and non soccer fans alike. The StubHub center is simply never going to do that. But anyone who’s been to an US-Mex match at the Rose Bowl knows that if you get professional soccer right in Los Angeles, you’re going to make a killing.

  5. Its all about the gimmicks with MLS. People talking about the owners, not the players or the coach or the stadium, the owners.
    Gimmicks first football second.

  6. What?! I can’t believe they’re putting this in LA because I thought Garber said he wanted the team in “Southern California”!

    • I think the term LA is used similarly to NY…not everything that has NY on it is actually located there. It makes it simpler for the non-locals.

      • (inside joke: my comment was sarcasm; you must have missed the geography arguments on this site just a few days ago.)

  7. So a bunch of owners, same old boring colors, and what is the name going to be.
    I was thinking some sexy Hollywood colors and and a sexy name.
    I would have love the name of Hollywood stars fc or Hollywood united. Just please put a sexy name and sexy colors before nfl does or NASL.

  8. Getting Magic involved is a big coup. His name remains pure gold in LA. Even if it is window dressing (I’m sure his stake is a tiny slice), it gives the ownership team much better credibility.

  9. Colors and named, TBD. So calm down folks!

    The Good:
    – Super impressive ownership group. Money, experience, name recognition. Really, what’s not to like?
    – Kick in the butt to have the Galaxy up their game. Not the on-the-field game, which speaks for itself, but the marketing, outreach, profile, etc.
    – If Sacramento joins? HELLO CALIFORNIA CUP!!!!

    The Bad:
    – They need to do right by the kids in the Chivas academy. Keep it going as they work on the launch

    That’s it. Sure, you can say “stadium” I don’t think it will be the issue it is in NYC. There are mutiple realistic options available.

    If you’re an MLS fan, this is good news.

    • couldn’t agree more.

      so you got about 30 months until your first game. obviously stadium, team name, ticket sales, etc are you biggest concern but why not start building you team right away with a training center, academy, u-23, u-20, u-18 teams — or just absorb a current one (Chivas).. this only makes sense to people who understand the game, these guys are defiantly understand the business of the game more than the game itself.

      whatever.. looking forward to the stadium and having another California team/stadium. The 4 way California Cup is going to be pretty good!

  10. Get the entertainment company involved, and name the team Los Angeles Universal Football Club. Who wouldn’t watch an LA derby between the Galaxy vs. the Universe? Then get the Cosmos into MLS somehow and hold the All-Stars Cup. Hire Neil Degrasse Tyson to do color commentary. I’m mostly not kidding. This is mostly a really good idea.

  11. I hope MLS and LAFC do not market to any hispanic, germanic, black, white, yellow, or asian demographic. It’s nonsense. I hope they attract and sign the best competitive skilled players no matter who they are or where they come from. Get a youth system or league throughout SoCal to scout and develop talent, youth teams, and a USL Pro or NASL team all in place from day 1. This is my alternative to Bruce Arena. LOL

  12. Wait, did MLS really just a second straight team with black and red as their colors? Can’t imagine Arthur Blank and his people are thrilled about suddenly having an LA team with the exact same color palette.

  13. Things to ponder…

    1.) Are former Chivas fans going to be gravitated to support LAFC?
    2.) If so, LA Galaxy going to shift their target market towards Latinos (specifically Mexican-Americans) or will LAFC do that?
    3.) How much and give it to me.

    • 1) All three of them? Next question.
      2) I think this has been happening for quite some time, with their player acquisitions and those third kits. You’ll have to see where LAFC considers “home” to have a better idea of their “target demographic”, if you will.
      3) Me first.

      • So dismissive..Bro, you sound like a lot of the people who clown soccer in the US.

        Chivas USA had some of the most dedicated fans in tany US Based soccer league.

        Sure, it would have been nice if there numbers were bigger but that was never the supporters’ fault.

        There was almost nothing easy about supporting that team but they went out and got after it, again and again.

    • LAG averaged attendence ~21,250 this year in a stadium that seats 27,000. That’s 78% full.

      If they fill 22% more of their stadium by lowering season tix by 15%, that math easily works in their favor.

      While that’s probably wishful thinking, and the math is an oversimplification, the league definitely makes more money by having a higher base of STHs from the get go, rather than having those seats possibly sell week in and week out for the rest of the year.

      • I couldn’t find any official announcement of season-ticket holders for LAG, but Grant Wahl quotes 7,500 (an embarrassingly low number and perhaps the reason they don’t publicize it). That puts LAG at 11th in the league.

        Maybe the price drop isn’t so much about filling 22% of their stadium as it is about getting a respectable number of season-ticket holders.

    • If I was an MLS owner (especailly if I owned Red Buklls or Galaxy) I would be chasing him relentlessly, check book in hand

      • At least until he punches a baby in the face, screams at his manager in about six different languages for not using him correctly, and then puts a two-footed studs-up tackle into the mascot for good measure.

        He’s a good player, occasionally a great player when he’s in the mood. I don’t know that I’d build my franchise around him.

      • Are you serious?? Occasionally great? He’s one of the top players of the decade, right up there with Henry, Pirlo, Ronaldo, Messi etc..

        Check his resume out…it’s a trail of titles, goals and highlight film…with the occasional dust up haha.

  14. what could possibly be the name? just tell me they won’t share a stadium with Galaxy

    Perhaps they can snag Messi or Ronaldo or Lewandowski or Robben when they open in 2017

    those would be worth the 20 million dollars a year

    • Trolling! Trolling! Beware!!
      “Everyone throughout the soccer world knows the Cosmos name and the legacy of the players that played for this team previously,” Raúl said. “They helped establish soccer in America and I’m honored to follow in their footsteps. I believe in this club’s vision and I’m excited to be a part of that.”
      Go Cosmos!!


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