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San Diego
Friday, Sep 22, 2023

GOAL! SD Scores Big with New MLS Team

SPORTS: Expansion Team to Start Play in 2025

It’s a goal San Diego has had for some time, and now it’s a score – soccer is back in America’s Finest City.

Starting in 2025, San Diego will become the home of Major League Soccer’s newest team, and it will play in San Diego’s newest sports venue, Snapdragon Stadium.

Don Garber
Major League Soccer

The expansion club will join National Women’s Soccer League’s Wave FC in play at the 35,000-seat Snapdragon. The stadium, home to the San Diego State Aztecs football team, is also host venue for the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup, which begins June 16.

“We are thrilled to welcome San Diego to Major League Soccer as our 30th team,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “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 San Diego team, majority-owned by British-Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Mansour, has not yet been named. According to news provided by MLS Soccer, the team’s name and crest will be announced in the buildup to officially kicking off play in two years.

Mohamed Mansour
Founder and Chairman
Man Capital

Mansour is founder and chairman of London-based investment management firm Man Capital, owner of Right to Dream. The nonprofit RTD is the global soccer community of world-class academies, clubs and partners that take an innovative approach to identifying and nurturing talent.

Founded in 1999 by former Manchester United scout Tom Vernon, RTD owns clubs in Denmark and Egypt and has academies in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. RTD has developed several world-class athletes who have gone on to play at the highest level for clubs and countries in MLS, the UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup.

“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.

“We look forward to introducing Right to Dream’s unique developmental approach and unparalleled soccer expertise to San Diego and MLS by delivering tangible benefits to the community as we look to open doors and identify and nurture talent from across the county and beyond,” he said.

Cody Martinez
Tribal Chairman
Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation

Also part of the San Diego MLS ownership team is The Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, headquartered in East County as well as San Diego Padres star Manny Machado.

According to MLS Soccer, the Sycuan Tribe is the first Native American tribe to have an ownership stake in professional soccer in the United States.

One of 12 Kumeyaay tribes in San Diego County, Sycuan has been a long-term partner with myriad institutions in the community, including the Padres, the San Diego Symphony, Rady’s Children’s Hospital San Diego and many local nonprofits.

“What a proud moment this is for the city and the Sycuan Tribe to bring MLS to San Diego,” said Sycuan Tribal Chairman Cody Martinez. “Sycuan has deep roots to the San Diego community and found an incredible partner in Mohamed Mansour and the soccer expertise that he brings with Right to Dream.

“Sycuan continues to demonstrate its strong commitment to the San Diego region and 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.”

Additional founding partners include Vernon, Brad Termini (co-founder, Zephyr Partners) and Dan Dickinson (board member, Right to Dream). Sports executive Tom Penn, who was formerly president and co-owner of MLS’s Los Angeles Football Club, will serve as the club’s CEO.

Peter Seidler
San Diego Padres

Penn, an NBA TV analyst, is founder of the Sports Leadership Institute, and was also a lawyer and basketball player agent.

Padres Chairman Peter Seidler said the time is right for MLS to thrive in San Diego.

“The Padres organization and I welcome Mohamed Mansour, his son Loutfy, and the entire Mansour family. We are excited for the historic role that our  terrific, long-standing partner, the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, has played in bringing an MLS franchise  to San Diego.

“Finally, it is great to see Manny Machado’s involvement as a part owner as he continues to demonstrate his love for San Diego and his special and powerful relationship with our community. His strong set of skills will benefit this franchise in multiple ways. What a great day for America’s Finest City!”


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