Soccer, Suckers and Sandwiches; Bravo Burgers, Borders and Bankruptcy Too!

Learn soccer by the book, and don't forget lunch.

Kickin’ It New-School

Local competitive soccer league Saddleback United Soccer Club amps up its developmental work for 7- to 9-year-old soccer hopefuls with an expanded Academy Program.

It’s partnering with the Pure Game, which teaches a stripped-down-fun-focused version of the game those wacky Brits call football. Both nonprofits are hoping to grow the skills of the younger kids, who might be starting to enjoy the AYSO recreational approach and want to improve their skills.

Saddleback United plans Monday/Wednesday and Tuesday/Thursday sessions using fields at and . Sessions are 16 weeks for $450, with a competitive element run by the Pure Game every other week.

“We want to develop skills and passion,” says Saddleback United founder Walter Fawcett. “But if we just train for 16 weeks, it gets boring.”

So S.U. teaches the skills—conditioning, dribbling—as TPG helps with the passion—running smaller versions of soccer games every fourth session.

Bonus: The Pure Game contains a character-building component, with talks on communication, leadership, honesty and so on.

Saddleback United itself is what’s known as "club soccer"—an ubercompetitive level of play. It’s not the recreation of AYSO or the intra-mural high school system, but a year-round program with the crop’s crème of athletes.

Club play exists for many sports in the county—e.g., volleyball—and is privately run. It hits soccer in most cities, and some teams can travel fairly far for games.

Saddleback United’s 13 teams play at five league levels countywide, from Bronze to Premier, and costs can run $1,500 to $2,500 a year per player, Fawcett says. 

Just Breathe, Baby

The continues, but don’t look—yet—for our stores to get the same treatment. The publicly traded company went into bankruptcy this month, announcing a financing package to keep the lights on.

But though stores at The Block, Tustin Legacy and the nice one off the 91 in Yorba Linda are closing, the two in Mission Viejo—

aren’t on the closure list.

The Shops location is a Borders Express, a “specialty store” according to the chain’s lingo—and none of those are closing, says spokesperson Mary Davis.

The company says it will continue operating—common for companies in bankruptcy protection—and, Davis says, focus on its best stores.

Shops not on the closure list “are staying open for now,” she says. “We’re always looking closely at which stores will perform best.”

It’s the usual case-by-case basis for the rest.

When the dust clears, Borders will be a third its peak size: about 440 stores, versus about 1,200.


ETA for Bravo Burgers is June, in time for summer burger fixes. A small chain, Bravo has circled O.C. and hit outlying areas in several cities (Redlands, Pomona, Moreno Valley) and has a local flagship in San Juan.

It dives deep into O.C. with this one.

And don’t let the name fool: This is more than burgers. There are sandwiches, dinner and breakfast and Mexican food. The joint is jumping at lunch: Try calling in an order around 11:30.

The site is a former Wienerschnitzel in the Commerce Center at 27200 La Paz Rd. In line with a vastly expanded menu versus the previous tenant, the renovation includes outdoor dining and a fresh coat of paint on the landscaping.

Bravo is also known for a stone tower entry feature: Check the look here.


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