ChivaClásico in San Diego long time in making

Showdown of blood brothers an exciting prospect for city, clubs

SAN DIEGO – The world of international soccer boasts an impressive number of famous rivalries. Celtic vs. Rangers. Inter Milan vs. AC Milan. Real Madrid vs. Barcelona.

But of all the great global derbies, none can claim the staggering number of blood ties that exist between MLS side Chivas USA and Mexican First Division club Chivas de Guadalajara.

They wear the same colors. They’re guided by some of the same club leadership and they use almost identical logos. They share the same name, even. They’re basically two versions of the same team; one in Mexico and one in the United States.

On Sept. 14, the two sides will do battle against one another in the second annual ChivaClásico at Petco Park, the home of the San Diego Padres. The announcement was made on Thursday afternoon at Petco Park by Chivas USA in partnership with the Padres.

“We are thrilled to be partners with the Padres,” said Chivas USA president and CEO Shawn Hunter. “We are very excited. I’ve been friends with some of the team’s senior management and we’ve talked about doing a program for a long time. The window opened up for us to host the second annual ChivaClásico and their staff worked very hard to make this happen.

“Guadalajara is one of the most important soccer clubs in the world. In about a month, this place is going to be full and it’s going to be full of very passionate soccer fans. It’s going to be a wonderful event."

BUY: Tickets to the ChivaClásico at San Diego's Petco Park

Hunter was joined at the press conference, which was held on the field at Petco Park, by San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, vice chairman and CEO of the Padres Jeff Moorad and president and COO of the Padres Tom Garfinkle.

“We’re convinced that the fan experience will be a first-class one,” said Moorad of the game. “We’re thrilled to be able to offer the San Diego community, which has shown how committed it is as a soccer fan base through viewership numbers around the World Cup, a chance to put on this game.”

San Diego is a huge soccer community. The SoCal city is a major hub for elite youth tournaments and leagues, and ranked among the top three cities in television viewership for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

“We all know San Diegans love soccer, and that was ever-more evident during the World Cup,” said Sanders. “It was an unbelievable experience in our neighborhoods, watching people walk around in jerseys from around the world. I can’t think of a better matchup than Chivas USA and Chivas de Guadalajara in terms of drawing a huge crowd to watch some quality soccer.”

Also on hand for the press conference were Chivas USA players Jonathan Bornstein and Mariano Trujillo. The pair is excited for the chance at a rematch against Guadalajara after Chivas USA’s 2-0 loss to the club at the Rose Bowl last year.

“Being a native of Southern California, I enjoyed every tournament that I ever got to play in San Diego as a youth,” said Bornstein. “Having the opportunity to come back to San Diego and play against Chivas de Guadalajara with Chivas USA in yet another Clásico match is an amazing opportunity.”

Tickets for the ChivaClásico go on sale at 10 a.m. PT on Saturday morning.