San Diego FC will have the opportunity to take advantage of international recruiting due to the location of the side’s training facility ahead of its MLS debut. While construction is ongoing at the complex, the future of the club is already starting to come to fruition. The 50,000-square-foot facility also has a boarding program for international talents to live while they train with San Diego FC.

However, the location of the headquarters for San Diego FC is particularly interesting. FIFA rules state that if a club’s headquarters are within 50 kilometers of a nation’s border, the club can recruit 50 miles into the other country. For San Diego FC, the headquarters narrowly fit those parameters, as the facility is 48 kilometers from the Mexican border. As a result, San Diego FC has the opportunity to recruit in Tijuana and the surrounding areas of Mexico.

No other Major League Soccer team has the opportunity that San Diego FC will have. As a result, the club is building on the potential to house young talents. The Right to Dream Youth Development Academy will be a boarding opportunity for adolescents aged 12 and older. The facility can hold 130 players on a full scholarship who will train at the adjacent facility.

Right to Dream is a global development group that puts the academy and development of young players at the forefront. Having the expertise of clubs in Ghana, Denmark and Egypt will allow San Diego FC to field homegrown talents more frequently in MLS games. For example, Tom Vernon, the President of Right to Dream, says up to 90% of SDFC’s squad can be talents to come through the development.

San Diego uses international recruiting for MLS talents

San Diego FC CEO Tom Penn says the club was very careful to measure where the training facility was to unlock the potential to recruit into Mexico. Penn added that a major foothold for the youth development academy is education so young players can choose their own future. That does not have to necessarily be as a professional soccer player.

“We’re going to find the best 12-year-olds with the most talent and the most potential,” said Penn. “As they develop, most could go on to play professionally. They all aspire to. Those that maybe don’t develop the way they think they could or choose to go an educational pathway, we cover that too.”

Having the possibility to recruit out of Mexico just makes it more of a possibility to find top-tier players. Right to Dream’s Tom Vernon says San Diego FC will be particularly important for development. Not only does the United States have a melting pot of playing styles. It has a clear path to professional soccer via the MLS development.

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Debut in the 2025 season

The youth development is the crux of San Diego FC. However, that will take some time to yield on-field results. For now, San Diego FC is preparing for its debut season in 2025 at Snapdragon Stadium. SDFC will be the league’s 30th team when it joins in the 2025 season. Coverage, once again, will be available for the club on MLS Season Pass from Apple.

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