Happy New Year! As you recover from your activities from New Year's Eve, consider this: only a couple weeks before training camp starts for MLS clubs! The 2012 season should be here before you know it. For Chivas USA, I thought it would be useful to make some resolutions for the next calendar year. What does the future hold? No way of knowing, but hopefully we can be in this position in a year's time and have more positive memories than negative. That's not too much to ask, is it?
Let us know what you think of these, and feel free to add your own in the comments section.
The Goat Parade's Writing Resolution for 2012: Find more creative ways to write "we have to wait and see."
When writing about stories that are in progress, it is difficult to be definitive. Sometimes, a trade may seem ridiculous at the start (cough, Juan Pablo Angel, cough) and after letting some time pass, opinions change dramatically. My usual way of addressing this inability to predict the future is to use a few derivations of the term "we will have to wait and see what happens." What a cliché, am I right? I'll work on offering better derivations, or even throw in some euphemisms to mix it up.The Goat Parade's Resolution to other MLS writers: Stop writing that Chivas USA needs to change its name and move to a new city.
We all know this argument in our sleep: Chivas doesn't connect to the rest of the league, their name is bad, they can't compete with the Galaxy, they should move to any number of other cities or states, etc. You know the first person to come up with that argument probably made it in 2005. It's now 2012. Please stop using this damn argument to cover up the fact that you don't watch many (or any) of their games and you aren't sure what to talk about concerning the club. Is it a model organization? No, there's plenty of room for improvement, and I think most fans will agree. But plenty of writers who are too smart to trot out this argument are doing it. For everybody's sake, please find something else to discuss when talking Chivas.
The Goat Parade's Resolution for Chivas' players: Make the MLS Cup playoffs
The goal is straightforward: Chivas USA should make the playoffs in 2012. It is not an easy task, and there will be little room for error for the squad. But after the first year under Robin Fraser showed promise but was ultimately disappointing, 2012 will be a big year for building a winning tradition for the club. We're not even at the point where fans are asking for trophies for the coming year (although we would never turn them down!), but if the Goats can make the playoffs next season, the club will be on the right track. However, it all comes down to the players, ultimately. If they get to the playoffs, the season will be considered a success, and hopefully the yearly turnover that leads to a new squad over and over will slow down dramatically. Prove the haters wrong, and get Chivas back in the playoffs!
The Goat Parade's Resolution for Chivas' front office: More transparency
There are many different tones teams can take in their business. Some reveal as few details publicly as possible, others grant numerous interviews and talk freely with writers and fans, and others strike a balance. Chivas' front office clearly belongs in the first category. If the club was wildly successful, as the New England Patriots have been for the past decade in the NFL, they could justify the secrecy that surrounds the club. But by being so secretive, it is hard to understand the decisions the club makes because Robin Fraser or Jose Domene so seldom explain them publicly. I think it is ok to play things close to the vest, but the front office should strive to be more forthcoming about details. Reporters want details to explain the story, but more importantly, the fans also want explanations, and they deserve them in exchange for supporting the club through good times and bad. I think Domene's recent turn to twitter to make a more tangible connection to fans is a good start, but he needs to continue the efforts in 2012. Let's hope he learns from people like Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson, who has used twitter to communicate with fans on his own terms, but in a very savvy fashion.
The Goat Parade's Resolution for Chivas' owners: More money
Chivas had one of the lowest three payrolls in MLS in 2011. Despite having the top slot in the Allocation Order for most of the season, they never selected a player, and thus missed out on Benny Feilhaber, Freddy Adu, and Sammy Ochoa. I do think a case could be made regarding all three of these players (more on that at a later date) that they weren't the best options for the club for the price. But I don't think any of them would have made the team worse, right? Plus, the team still hasn't had a designated player in their history (JPA doesn't count). With the sheer number of bad designated player signings in the league's history, by no means do I think Chivas should go out and get a DP just for the sake of doing so. But DPs are concentrated in the best teams in the league for a reason. With more money, the front office can have more options to get and keep good players. It's going to be damn near impossible to compete in the league in the short term without some more money to bankroll the team - here's hoping the purse strings will loosen a bit in 2012.
The Goat Parade's Resolution for Chivas' fans: Get a friend to watch a game
It can be hard to remember sometimes that Chivas USA haven't been around for very long. The fanbase is passionate, but let's do the club and league a solid in 2012 and get a friend to watch a game. Do you have friends who like soccer but don't follow MLS? Take them to a match at the Home Depot Center - they may love getting to see a match in person. Have friends who like sports but aren't hot on soccer? Take them to a game, too, or at least watch a Chivas game with them on television. Chances are many of these friends will have a good time drinking and eating and taking in the sights but won't get hooked. But if every fan does it, and even 5% get into it, that's hundreds of new fans. And even if you fail at getting them into Chivas but they get into soccer, you're doing the sport a favor. Just don't let them become Galaxy fans.
Many of you probably already do this, and have been for years. Keep it up in 2012 with other friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers. Take a page out of the Free Beer Movement's book and buy your guest a beer to entice him or her (note: other beverages make good bribes as well). You will be giving people a chance to see the sport and team we love, and you may make lifelong fans for just the price of a beer.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!