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Kicking around the idea of bringing pro soccer to San Diego

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - "'let's call it preparing for the worst. The Chargers leave San Diego for Los Angeles. Then what? Getting another NFL team would certainly take years, possibly decades. So what ...

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The uncertainty surrounding the Chargers stadium situation has many wondering what would happen in San Diego if the team moved to Los Angeles. Could the void be filled with a different kind of football?

Proponents for bringing pro soccer to San Diego call it preparing for the worst. They argue that if the Chargers move to Los Angeles, it could take years, maybe even decades before San Diego could get another NFL team. However, what if San Diego passed on the NFL and headed over to Major League Soccer? Supporters say that if San Diego had its own MLS team, San Diego could be a contender to take on the Los Angeles Galaxy and even play annual friendly matches with the Tijuana Xolos.

“We would welcome a team in San Diego," says Chris Klein. 

Klein is president of the Los Angeles Galaxy, arguably the most successful team in MLS history. 

"Soccer works in Southern California. Look at the number of people that play soccer in San Diego. Look at the TV ratings whenever you have a national team game, men or women, and San Diego is usually at the top of the list," says Klein. 

The MLS is one of the fastest expanding professional sports leagues in the country with new teams coming soon to Atlanta, Minnesota, Miami, and a second team in Los Angeles. 

"Our league continues to grow. We are just scratching the surface of what this can become," says Klein. "It’s a fast paced game that lasts two hours. There’s no stop and so it is positioned very well for the next generation of fans.”  

Klein says the process for a new team starts with an ownership group approaching the league and asking to join. However, so far, San Diego hasn't taken a shot. 

"To my knowledge, that hasn’t come forward yet, but it could be a possibility," says Klein. 

The biggest obstacle for San Diego to have its own, new MLS team is building a soccer specific stadium. 

"Our stadium in Los Angeles holds concerts, Cross Fit games, so it can be multi-use, but the primary use is for the Galaxy," says Klein. 

The MLS wants new soccer stadiums to be built in good locations. For San Diego, that would mean building a new soccer stadium downtown near Petco Park. However, that's the same spot where the Chargers want their new stadium and so far, they aren't getting it in that location. On the bright side, a soccer stadium is much smaller than an NFL stadium and only needs to hold about 25,000 people. 

"Its hundreds of millions of dollars, it's a big cost. But it's certainly not the cost you have for a football stadium," says Klein. 

Klein says having an MLS team in San Diego is something to think about if the Chargers decide to leave. 

CBS News 8 contacted several city leaders to get their thoughts on trying to bring the MLS to San Diego, but they declined to talk on camera, saying they don’t want to take the focus away from trying to keep the Chargers. 


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