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San Diego Loyal soccer team signs former Navy lieutenant as defender

Joseph Greenspan was named 2019 USL Championship Defender of the Year and was selected in the second round of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft by the Colorado Rapids.
Credit: San Diego Loyal via Twitter

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Loyal has signed defender Joseph Greenspan, pending league and federation approval, the club announced Monday. Greenspan, who served at a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, is set to join the team for its inaugural USL Championship season in 2020.  

The signing of Greenspan is the latest of several announcements made by the team this month. On Friday, the club announced forward Irvin Raul Parra will be joining the team. MLS veteran and San Diego native Salvatore Zizzo Jr. was announced to be the club’s first player on Dec. 11. Greenspan brings several years of experience in the USL Championship league to the team. 

“When you have the opportunity to sign the best defender in the league, you don’t let that pass you by,” said Landon Donovan, EVP of Soccer Operations and First Team Manager. “Joe is an exceptional soccer player, and he has the utmost character. His work ethic, leadership on the field, and service-minded approach to playing will make him an extremely valuable member of this organization.” 

Greenspan was named 2019 USL Championship Defender of the Year, according to the club, and was selected in the second round of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft by the Colorado Rapids. He was the second-ever service academy member drafted in U.S. soccer history 

Greenspan served a year of active duty in the U.S. Navy before being transferred to the Navy Reserve which allowed him to pursue soccer. In 2016, he was traded to the MLS expansion club, Minnesota United FC and then signed to USL-side Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC in 2018.  

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Greenspan, who hails from New Jersey, spent his college years in the United States Naval Academy, playing for Navy Midshipmen men's soccer and earning All-American honors in both his junior and senior year.   

“Service and soccer are so intertwined for me because both teach you that it’s about something bigger than you,” said Defender Joe Greenspan. “Sports can sometimes be an individual endeavor, but at this point in my career, I’m most looking forward to being part of building and growing a team for the fans. With the people involved and the players signed so far, I know we’ll make San Diego proud.” 

Launched on June 19, 2019, the San Diego Loyal is the newest member of USL Championship, a USSF-sanctioned Division II league and one of the most competitive pro soccer leagues in the world. The club will play at Torero Stadium, under a three-year agreement with the University of San Diego. 

The Loyal’s first regular-season home match is scheduled to take place in early March 2020. 

For more about the San Diego Loyal click here