San Diego has previously been linked with a place in Major League Soccer in the future and those reports became official on Thursday.
The Southern California city has been awarded the league’s 30th team, MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced Thursday. San Diego will begin competing as an expansion club in 2025 at Snapdragon Stadium, the current home of NWSL side San Diego Wave FC.
The club is owned by entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist Mohamed Mansour, while the investor group features six-time Major League Baseball All-Star and San Diego Padres infielder Manny Machado. Other founding partners include Brad Termini [Co-founder, Zephyr Partners]; Tom Vernon [Founder, Right to Dream] and Dan Dickinson [Board Member, Right to Dream] while sports executive Tom Penn will serve as the club’s CEO.
“We are thrilled to welcome San Diego to Major League Soccer as our 30th team,” said 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.
“Mohamed Mansour and the Sycuan Tribe have an incredible vision for building a club that will inspire and unite soccer fans throughout the city and region.”
Mansour is the founder and chairman of the London-based investment management firm Man Capital, which owns Right to Dream (RTD), the global soccer community of world-class academies, clubs and partners with an innovative approach to identifying and nurturing talent.
RTD has developed numerous world-class players who have gone on to play at the highest level for club and country in MLS, the UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup, including seven graduates who represented their countries in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The global academy network also operates an elite performance and development environment at top-tier Danish club FC Nordsjaelland that is studied and admired globally.
Snapdragon Stadium, the club’s future home, opened in 2022 and memorably hosted San Diego Wave FC for the NWSL’s most-attended match [32,000+ attendance]. Currently located on San Diego State University’s campus, the stadium features a natural grass playing surface and previously hosted a Liga MX friendly between neighboring Club Tijuana and Club América.