San Diego is on the verge of becoming the latest MLS expansion franchise location. After a number of close calls in getting a club, the southern California city will be the 30th MLS club.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the announcement from MLS in bringing a club to the area could be as soon as just one or two weeks from now. The newspaper identified an Egyptian billionaire and the local Sycuan tribe preparing a bid to present to Major League Soccer. The expansion would cost the owners in the area of $500 million.
While the current projections do not have a team name or any plans for on-the-field activity, it does identify some of the frameworks of the club. Among those is the location of the club. Snapdragon Stadium, located just 15 minutes from the center of San Diego, is the potential venue.
As of now, there is already a men’s professional side in San Diego, the San Diego Loyal. That club only made its debut in 2020. As of now, the Union-Tribune does not know of any correlation between the two. San Diego Loyal plays out of Torero Stadium, which regularly sells out for the USLC side.
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That stadium only has a capacity of around 6,000. Snapdragon Stadium houses the San Diego State Aztecs football team and the San Diego Wave of NWSL. Its capacity is 35,000. That would be the third-biggest venue in Major League Soccer.
Moreover, San Diego State Athletic Director John David Wicker said the stadium is ready for MLS. “Based on the soccer we’re having this summer, it shows that this venue is truly built for great soccer, and getting MLS is the last real piece of the puzzle,” he said.
San Diego MLS expansion side confident over prospect
The projected owners of this San Diego MLS expansion team are two-fold. One of those is the Sycuan tribe of southern California. The tribe owns hotels, and one of those could be the location for the team’s official announcement. The other principal owner is Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Mansour of the Mansour Group. Part of the MLS expansion in San Diego includes building a leg of the Mansour Group’s Right to Dream. This is a youth development academy for soccer with camps across the world.
The two put out a joint statement discussing the current situation and any potential developments.
“We continue to push forward with confidence, and we are working together to make the deal a reality,” the statement read. “While we are still in the due diligence process, we remain excited about the prospect of bringing Major League Soccer to San Diego, a city and community with such a rich cultural and sporting heritage.”
The Union-Tribune claims the announcement over the MLS side can be as soon as May 18 at either Snapdragon Stadium or the US Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego. MLS did not provide a statement to the newspaper about the potential for a team. Play for this MLS side would likely start with the 2025 campaign.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Sports Press Photo
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