SAN DIEGO — This was a moment that the City of San Diego had been waiting for years. Literally years. The MLS officially announced San Diego as its 30th franchise at Snapdragon Stadium.
The 35,000-seat stadium will be the home of the franchise owned by British-Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Mansour. He will be joined by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, along with six-time MLB All-Star and current San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado.
“We are thrilled to welcome San Diego to Major League Soccer as our 30th team,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “For many years, we have believed San Diego would be a terrific MLS market due to its youthful energy, great diversity and the fact that soccer is an essential part of everyday life for so many people.”
The team will be up and running by 2025. Fans can reserve their place on the list for tickets at SanDiegoFC.com by paying $18 for a chance to be a part of San Diego’s first season.
San Diego has had a big soccer following for years. They have been at the top of the charts when it comes to World Cup viewing. They have a rich community of soccer teams, whether it is NWSL, USL, National Independent, or even their youth squads.
“San Diego is a community with a rich sporting history and long considered the heart of soccer development in North America,” said club CEO Tom Penn. “With the addition of MLS, we will inspire lasting change through the sport in San Diego and unite soccer fans throughout the region.
“We will deliver sustained excellence on the field, unprecedented investment in player development, and create a shared, joyous experience for fans at Snapdragon Stadium, one of the premier soccer venues in professional soccer.”
As mentioned, the Sycuan Tribe, which has resided in San Diego for over 12,000 years, will be the first Native American tribe to have an ownership stake in a pro soccer squad in the United States.
“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the Sycuan Tribe to bring Major League Soccer to such a deserving community and legion of San Diego soccer fans,” Mansour said. “This is a real opportunity to create a powerful and lasting legacy for the city and region.”
The owner of San Diego FC wants to help inner-city youth in the city by bringing “Right to Dream,” — a global soccer community of academies, clubs and partners focused on identifying and nurturing talent.
Helping the youth in the community is something Machado and his wife Yainee have done since he signed a lucrative 10-year deal in 2019.
“I continue to plant roots in this amazing community that means so much to me and build upon my connection with the incredible fans,” he said. “I’m further encouraged by the club’s commitment and experience that it brings, through Right to Dream, in developing young athletes personally, academically and athletically, and excited to support the growth of soccer in San Diego.”
Machado has seen firsthand how the city has embraced him and stood behind the Padres, especially since he was signed. The Padres have some of the best attendance numbers in the last two seasons.
The San Diego Loyal has had a nice following since they started in 2020. They had hoped to get the MLS bid, but that dream is they announced in a statement that they aren’t going anywhere but will continue to help build the soccer community.
“Our unwavering commitment is to the vision of growing soccer in this city, and we want to make that abundantly clear,” said Andrew Vassiliadis, chairman and owner of SD Loyal. “Landon Donovan, the entire San Diego Loyal team and I are dedicated to this mission, and we will continue to work tirelessly to achieve it. Our passion for soccer and for our community will never falter.”
San Diego FC will share the stadium with the San Diego Wave and San Diego State University football. The interesting thing will be to know whom FC can sign to match the Wave signing superstar Alex Morgan.
That is future talk; as of now, the team will send groups around the city to listen to the fans. They will look to continue to grow their community as they prepare for 2025.
The motto “Futbol is life” from the hit show Ted Lasso would fit perfectly for how the city feels after capturing an MLS team.