San Diego has been awarded an expansion franchise by Major League Soccer (MLS), taking the league to 30 teams. The team will be owned by Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Mansour, the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, and San Diego Padres star Manny Machado. The San Diego franchise will debut in 2025 and will play at Snapdragon Stadium, which has a capacity of 35,000. The Right to Dream academy, owned by Mansour’s London-based Man Capital firm, will also be involved in the project, with plans for a San Diego-based academy in the future.
Tom Penn, former president of LAFC, has been named as CEO for the new MLS franchise, with a name and crest to be revealed at a later date. The San Diego project recently surpassed Las Vegas in the race for the league’s 30th team. According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, the expansion fee for the MLS franchise « is in the $500 million neighborhood. » San Diego will begin playing in MLS nearly three decades after former league commissioner Doug Logan noted in 1996 that the city was a « prime candidate » for expansion.
MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a statement that 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. Garber also hinted that the league could go beyond 30 teams in the future, but there were no immediate plans for further growth. Snapdragon Stadium will continue to host soccer events this summer, including a men’s national team exhibition between Mexico and Cameroon on June 10 and a CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal match on July 12.
Keywords: Major League Soccer, San Diego, expansion franchise, Snapdragon Stadium, Mohamed Mansour, Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, Manny Machado, Right to Dream academy, Tom Penn, Las Vegas, Doug Logan, Don Garber, CONCACAF Gold Cup.
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