SAN DIEGO — It may be the worst-kept secret in San Diego sports history: Major League Soccer will announce that San Diego is finally getting a team Thursday morning.
“I'm stoked,” said Rodney Styles, a bartender at Bluefoot Bar in North Park. “It's a really exciting time.”
Rodney spoke to CBS 8 about serving drinks to soccer fans who showed up at the bar Wednesday afternoon to watch the Champions League semifinals on television. Rodney says San Diego is a soccer city. Fans pack his bar to watch big matches overseas, regardless of the time here. “People come out at 4 am, 4:30 a.m., even though they can't drink till 6. They're here in droves.”
The official announcement is expected on May 18.
The Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation is partnering with a billionaire from Egypt to buy an MLS expansion team - They will play at Snapdragon Stadium starting in 2025.
“Dude, I'm super excited,” said Napoleon Aleman. “I've been waiting for this a lot, you know.”
Napoleon grew up in a big soccer-loving family. So does he think an MLS team can sell out a stadium here? “Every game, man,” he said with a laugh. “Definitely. And I’ll be at every game too. I'm buying my season tickets as soon as they're out.”
We went to Los Angeles and interviewed the L.A. Galaxy's president about the possibility. He admitted there was no talk about giving San Diego a team back then but wasn't against the idea.
“Soccer works in Southern California,” Chris Klein said. “Look at the number of people that play soccer in San Diego. Look at the TV ratings when you have a national team game - men or women - and San Diego is usually at the top of the list.”
Major League Soccer has 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.”
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.”
The team hasn’t released a name yet, or when tickets will go on sale.
CBS 8 will be covering their announcement Thursday morning, and we’ll have more details as soon as they’re available.
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