San Diego named 30th MLS club; debut in ’25-News

SAN DIEGO – Major League Soccer president Don Garber announced Thursday that the city of San Diego has been granted an expansion offer, expanding the league to 30 teams.

The news was revealed at a ceremony at Snapdragon Stadium, which is slated to be a 35,000-capacity home for the San Diego franchise when it opens in 2025. The latest MLS team will be Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Mansour’s Sycuan Band. The Kumeyaay Nation (now the first Native American tribe to own a US professional baseball team) is the champion of the San Diego Padres. Manny Machado.

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“We are excited to welcome San Diego to Major League Soccer as our 30th team,” Garber said in a news release Thursday. “For years we have believed that San Diego will be the best MLS market because of its youthful energy, great diversity, and the fact that football is an important part of everyday life for many people. Mohamed Mansour and the Sycuan brand have an incredible vision to build a club that will inspire and unite football fans across the city and the region. “

“I am excited about the opportunity to join the San Diego MLS ownership team,” added Machado in a press release. “I’m continuing to plant roots in this amazing community that means so much to me and deepen my connection with the amazing fans.”

Additional owners include Zephyr Partners’ Brad Termini and Right to Dream’s Tom Vernon and Dan Dickinson. Managed by Mansour’s London Man Capital firm, the Right to Dream is a school based in Ghana that also owns Nordsjaelland of Danish luxury airlines. MLS players including Emmanuel Boateng of the New England Revolution and FC Dallas’. To be dry It is produced by Right to Dream Academy.

Additional Freedom to Dream centers have been built in Denmark and Egypt, with plans for a San Diego-based academy in the future.

“We look forward to bringing Right to Dream’s unique development approach and unparalleled soccer expertise to San Diego and MLS by providing benefits to the community as we look to open doors and identify and develop talent from across the region and beyond,” said Mansour. who has said that seven graduates of the Right to Dream academy participated in 2022 World Cup.

Tom Penn, former president of the The cost of LAFChas been named CEO of the new MLS franchise, with a name and details to be revealed at a later date.

San Diego recently beat out Las Vegas in the race for the league’s 30th team. In February, Mr. Garber said that both cities are “a lot of opportunity for 30.” As of last month, ESPN reported that the San Diego community grew exponentially. According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, the MLS expansion fee “is close to $500 million.”

San Diego will begin playing in the MLS nearly three decades after former league commissioner Doug Logan said in 1996 that the city was a “strong advocate” for expansion. Since then, a long list of rumors and reports have surfaced about interest groups that wanted to bring the high-profile game to the Southern California city.

In 2018, one year after the Chargers moved from San Diego to Los Angeles, San Diego State University won a local election to renovate the Chargers’ former Mission Valley site and expand its campus, which included the expected construction soon. Snapdragon games. The competitive level of “SoccerCity”, led by US men’s team star Landon Donovan, aimed to attract the next MLS opportunity but ultimately failed in the local elections.

Snapdragon Stadium is slated to open by August 2022, and is currently home to SDSU’s football program, Major League Rugby’s San Diego Legion and the National Women’s Soccer League’s San Diego Wave. In September 2022, the Wave broke the NWSL attendance record for a single game when 32,000 filled the stadium for a regular season game against Angel City FC. A month later, the Wave set an NWSL game attendance record with 26,215 watching a 2-1 win over the Chicago Red Stars at the venue.

After recently hosting a friendly match between Liga MX’s Club America and Club Tijuana in March 2023, Snapdragon Stadium will continue to host the match this summer through a men’s team showdown between them. Mexico and Cameroon on June 10 with CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal game on July 12. On July 25, Manchester United will face Wrexham AFC (of Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney) in a friendly at the Mission Valley venue.

The San Diego Loyal, a local professional that plays in the second division of youth soccer in the United States, says it will not participate in the MLS project. Led by Donovan as executive vice president of football, the team released a statement earlier this month from chairman and owner Andrew Vassiliadis saying, “We’re not going anywhere.”

As for adding franchises to MLS, Garber previously said the league could expand to 30 teams. However, he told ESPN at the event Thursday that there were no immediate plans to expand.

“We didn’t say anything because, you know, our plan changes as the market changes. We never thought we would be at 24, we never thought we would be at 26,” he said.

“[But] I don’t think that we are sitting here today that we have plans in the near future for more than 30 teams. We have a lot of work to do to build the league so that we can get the opportunities that we all see ahead of us in the coming years, especially until 2026, but who knows what the future looks like after that, but nothing is certain in the near future.”

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