Outdoor professional soccer is coming back to San Diego.
NASL announced on Monday the newest 2018 expansion team, to play in San Diego. The confirmation comes following months of reports culminating in several well-sourced stories on it over the weekend.
The San Diego team say they aim to play permanently in the North County area of San Diego County, as they are looking at stadium sites now and will look to build a privately-financed stadium and training ground to support the team. In the meantime, the club will play at the University of San Diego’s Torero Stadium, which has long hosted professional teams passing through the city.
The new team does not yet have a name, but say that they “are in the process of developing options for a name and logo.”
A notable point in all of this is who is part of the ownership group. While the release identifies unnamed local business executives as part of the venture, four notable names in the soccer world were identified front and center in the release and promotion of the expansion team: Current players Demba Ba, Eden Hazard, Yohan Cabaye and Moussa Sow. The latter three played together at Lille in France, where they were Ligue 1 champions, and Ba and Hazard played together at Chelsea. Considering all four remain active players, is there a chance any of them will be making the move to play in this new team?
That’s unclear, but it certainly wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility. So far, Ba seems to have taken the lead as the public face of the team, doing promotion for the team and acting as the de facto spokesperson for the expansion quest.
Otherwise, local businessman Bob Watkins has been named president of the new club.
"It’s an absolute honor to bring professional soccer to San Diego County," said Watkins in the statement on the news. "The international soccer stars driving this effort give us an excellent foundation from which to build. We will be an exciting club to watch - you can count on that. We intend to develop local talent, helping young children realize their dreams of playing professional soccer, and we intend to help San Diego become a soccer capital known around the world."
With San Diego’s MLS quest being put in jeopardy due to the fight over the stadium project, the San Diego NASL team, which in keeping with the general spirit of San Diego overall says they believe an MLS team can co-exist with them peacefully, could have a huge opportunity to build a fanbase up. Regardless of what happens, should be a lot of news coming out about this team, alongside the NASL expansion team in Orange County, in the coming months.
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