SAN DIEGO —
San Diego FC or FC San Diego?
Several speakers, soccer props, lots of hoopla and excited fans were part of the announcement that the next MLS team will be coming to San Diego in San Diego Thursday morning.
What was noticeably missing from the big event was the new team's name.
But it didn't take long for that to leak out.
During a post-event interview with CBS 8's Jake Garegnani, new team CEO Tom Penn let the cat out of the bag.
"We feel like we want to be either San Diego Football Club so San Diego FC or should we put the football first?" Penn said. "Should it be, Football Club of San Diego like FC San Diego?"
As Penn said to Jake, "You heard it here first!"
San Diego’s MLS club will be owned by Mohamed Mansour, a distinguished entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist with deep, global ties in the sport, and by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation. The Sycuan Tribe becomes the first Native American tribe to have an ownership stake in professional soccer in the United States.
Other founding partners include Brad Termini, Co-founder, Zephyr Partners, Tom Vernon, Founder, Right to Dream and Dan Dickinson, Board Member, Right to Dream. Highly respected sports executive Tom Penn will serve as the club’s CEO.
Another big name in San Diego sports will also join the ownership group. San Diego Padres star, Manny Machado spoke about how excited he is to be part of this new team joining San Diego.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to join the San Diego MLS ownership group. I continue to plant roots in this amazing community that means so much to me and build upon my connection with the incredible fans,” said Machado. “I’m further encouraged by the club’s commitment and experience that it brings, through Right to Dream, in developing young athletes personally, academically and athletically, and excited to support the growth of soccer in San Diego.”
The new team will play in Snapdragon Stadium in 2025, a year before the United States will join Mexico and Canada in hosting the 2026 World Cup.
The team’s name and crest will be announced in the buildup to beginning play in 2025. Soccer fans can reserve their place on the list for season tickets to San Diego’s inaugural MLS season by paying $18 at SanDiegoFC.com.
Major League Soccer had passed over San Diego in previous expansions, but this time things are different.
San Diego Wave FC has proven soccer can work here. The women’s team packs Snapdragon Stadium for every match. “We're selling out crowds,” Defender Kaleigh Riehl said. “We have the best fan base, and I think that's evident now, and I think they've seen that, and so - I mean, there's no better market for a team.”
The San Diego Wave, which began play in the National Women's Soccer League in 2022, also plays in Snapdragon Stadium and set a league single-game attendance record of 32,000 against Angel City FC last September.
And the women's team welcomes the men. They know it’s great for the city as a whole. “I see the youth game here in San Diego, and it's booming,” Wave FC Head Coach Casey Stoney said. “So having male and female role models on your doorstep playing the professional game can only be good.”