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San Diego New Leader for 30th MLS Franchise

  • San Diego has reportedly pulled ahead of Las Vegas for an MLS expansion franchise.
  • The potential team could begin play by the 2025 season.
A general view inside Snapdragon Stadium during a San Diego Wave match.
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

As Major League Soccer searched for a market to place its 30th franchise, Las Vegas and San Diego had emerged as effectively the two finalists — with the former reportedly even entering exclusive negotiations for the right in January 2022.

Now, the latter has pulled ahead, as ESPN reports that San Diego “is clearly the leader in the clubhouse” to land an MLS expansion team that could begin play in 2025.

Besides being a thriving professional soccer market — with the NWSL’s San Diego Wave and the USL Championship’s San Diego Loyal already playing there — the SoCal city has a potential ownership group and stadium solution already lined up.

The Mansour Group — run by Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Mansour — has reportedly been in talks with the league about heading up a franchise in San Diego, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. The Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, a Native American tribe in the area, would also reportedly be involved in the ownership group.

In terms of a venue, the brand new Snapdragon Stadium on the campus of San Diego State is reportedly enthusiastic about allowing a potential MLS franchise to use the grounds. The stadium hosts six SDSU home football games per year, and is the home field of the Wave.

“I’m a big believer in San Diego,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said in November. “I think San Diego’s a great sports market, it’s a gateway city.”

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