It’s easy to see why so many people naturally gravitate towards Orange County. The laid-back lifestyle, perfect year-around weather, beautiful beaches, an endless list of outdoor activities, famous shopping and dining, … and now professional football. Yes, professional football.
The Los Angeles Rams have reached a three-year agreement with the University of California, Irvine to host its training camp on the campus beginning July 26 of this year, bringing professional football back to Orange County for the first time in two decades, with practices open to the public for free throughout the summer.
“We’re committed to being a university for the people, which means offering stellar academics and inviting ourcommunity to join us for historic events,” recently said Chancellor Howard Gillman. “We’re proud to welcome the Rams back to Southern California, where they belong.”
The Rams first practiced at UCI from 1990 to 1992 and again in 1994. They played in Anaheim Stadium from 1980 to 1995 and enjoyed some of their proudest moments during that time span lead by quarterback Vince Ferragamo, running back Eric Dickerson, coach John Robinson and offensive coordinator Ernie Zampese. The Rams will play their regular season games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum starting this year until their state-of-the-art Inglewood stadium is ready in 2019.
“We look forward to training at UCI in preparation for the 2016 season,” recently said Rams head coach Jeff Fisher. “Their facilities are top-notch, and we’re excited to welcome our fans to their campus as we gear up for the start of the season.”
In 1995, the Rams relocated to St. Louis, Mo. where they played until 2015. In the franchise’s nearly 80-year history, they have won three world championships (most recently in 1999), eight conference championships, and 13 division championships. Being synonymous with successful teams is no stranger to UCI. In just 50 years, UCI’s athletic prowess has included 28 national championships, 53 Olympians and Paralympians, an impressive roster of scholar-athletes and consistently high NCAA Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association All-Sports rankings.
“This is an exciting time for NFL fans, and we’ll do everything we can to ensure that this is a great experience for everyone involved,” recently said Mike Izzi, UCI athletic director. “We welcome the Rams back, and, although UCI doesn’t have a football team, we take great pride in our facilities and our athletic accomplishments.”
It’s easy to see why the Rams returned. Visit therams.com for more information and the complete practice schedule.
Image courtesy of Los Angeles Rams Team Photographer Ric Tapia.