‘Tis the season of expansion rumors in Southern California. It feels like that, anyway, as another expansion rumor in American pro soccer emerged on Sunday in the wake of the U.S. Soccer Federation’s decision to provisionally sanction both the USL and NASL as Division II for 2017.
Indianapolis-based reporter Nipun Chopra tweeted on Sunday that USL expansion was coming to San Diego in 2018, and a famous pro soccer player, Keisuke Honda, of Japanese national team and AC Milan fame, would be involved:
2) USL will be launching San Diego in 2018. Announcement should be made by March 2017. Ownership group involves Keisuke Honda.— Nipun ⚽️ ⚗️ (@NipunChopra7) January 8, 2017
This isn’t the first indication that a USL expansion team could come to San Diego, of course, with rumors starting to really percolate last year. Nobody has thus far come forward to identify themselves as interested in owning an expansion team, but Honda recently started a soccer academy in San Bernardino County. There have also been rumors of late that he could come to MLS to play, possibly in LA.
This report comes in the wake of a separate report on Friday that the NASL, which has apparently survived rumors for weeks of its imminent demise, will launch expansion teams in San Diego and Orange County. The first report claimed that would be happening this year, while a subsequent interview on Saturday indicated it was likely to come in 2018.
Of course, if there is anything to be learned from expansion reports, it’s that most of them come and go, and so if you’re wondering if San Diego, a market that certainly seems like it should have a pro soccer team of some sort, can sustain two new teams in the same year, be aware that either the USL or NASL reports may or may not happen. We could see two teams launch, just one get off the ground, or no team. It’s very much a wait-and-see story for the time being, and if the timeline as identified by Chopra is indeed that an announcement for the USL team will come by March, we could get concrete news before the coming USL season. We’ll keep you updated on the latest expansion reports and news as it drops.
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