Soccer Ball Lands in Mission Viejo’s Lap : U.S. Team’s Hopes for 1994 World Cup Begin at Home of National Training Site


Soccer in United States--and in Orange County--is moving toward the world-class stage, both literally and figuratively.

In the latter sense, the game’s popularity has attracted a larger following in recent years, whether from the newest Americans who bring their love for the game with them from other shores, or from others who perhaps are attracted to the game as an alternative to football and its inevitable injuries. Irvine, to name just one community, has youth soccer aplenty.

And now in the literal sense, the U.S. soccer team has a true arena of its own from which to launch its hosting of the World Cup in 1994. It will practice in Mission Viejo at a brand new training center, built by the city for this purpose, and later to be converted to a youth sports center. It will provide a home at last for members of the U.S. national team, and be training site for the World Cup squad. This commitment shows the willingness of the United States to field a competitive team, and it is a great coup at the same time for Mission Viejo.


There is as yet no clubhouse to move into, but that is expected to be completed in April. But even having ready practice fields located on the seven-acre facility at Oso Viejo Community Park is a start.

Until now, members of the national team have been spread around the country, spending long periods on the road living in hotels. The U.S. Soccer Federation’s provision for apartments within walking distance of the soccer fields brings the United States into the big time, because many international soccer powers long have had national training centers.

The arrival of the World Cup, to be held in nine U.S. cities in June and July of 1994, provides just the incentive needed. And Mission Viejo was considered an ideal site because of its year-round practice opportunities. This development is good for U.S. soccer, good for Orange County, and good for the host city, Mission Viejo.