Thirtieth Major League Soccer team headed to San Diego
A new Major League Soccer team is coming to sunny San Diego, California, the league announced Thursday.
The professional soccer team will begin competing as an expansion club in 2025 in the city's Snapdragon Stadium, which is already home to the National Women's Soccer League's Wave FC.
"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."
Until 2025... stay classy, San Diego. pic.twitter.com/40RI0jlLGE
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 18, 2023
The new team is owned by billionaire businessman Mohamed Mansour and the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, according to the MLS statement.
Mansour has connections to the soccer world — his investment management firm owns Right to Dream, a global community of soccer academies and clubs that has developed several current MLS players, including David Accam and Emmanuel Boateng.
The Sycuan Tribe, which has lived in or around the San Diego region for more than 12,000 years, is the first Native American tribe to have ownership of a professional soccer team in the U.S., the release said.
"Sycuan continues to demonstrate its strong commitment to the San Diego region," said Sycuan tribal chairman Cody Martinez. "Our MLS team will provide us with a great opportunity to bring together many different segments of the community through their passion for the game."
Joining Mansour and the Sycuan Tribe in team ownership is San Diego Padres star Manny Machado.
Currently, the Padres are the only major professional sports team in San Diego, making the region a potentially desirable market for MLS, said soccer reporter Paul Tenario of The Athletic.
"I think MLS does feel quite confident that there is an appetite" for soccer in San Diego, Tenario told CBS News before today's official announcement. "They've seen historically when they've gone into markets where there is less competition for pro sports, that there has been kind of a welcoming committee of fans for Major League Soccer."
Snapdragon Stadium, a 35,000-seat venue, opened in 2022 and is located on the San Diego State University campus. It has hosted major soccer events, including the NWSL's most-attended match and a friendly match between Mexico's Club Tijuana and Club América. It is also going to be a host venue for the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup, according to MLS.
"San Diego is a community with a rich sporting history and long considered the heart of soccer development in North America," said Tom Penn, the new team's CEO. "With the addition of MLS, we will inspire lasting change through the sport in San Diego and unite soccer fans throughout the region."
The organization's team name and crest will be released in the buildup to their debut season, the release said.
Fans can begin reserving spots on the list for 2025 season tickets by donating $18 at SanDiegoFC.com, which will go towards the development of youth soccer programs in San Diego County.
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