MLS announces expansion team in San Diego starting in 2025


Mohamed Mansour, a British-Egyptian billionaire, is reportedly set to buy the San Diego MLS franchise for $500 million. (Ben Hsu/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

California is on the verge of getting a fourth major league soccer team.

MLS on Thursday announced plans to expand its league yet again, adding a 30th team to San Diego. The team, first reported by the London Times, will be owned by Mohamed Mansour, a British-Egyptian billionaire and Conservative Party treasurer. He is reportedly looking to buy the franchise for $500 million.

The club is said to be owned by Mansour and the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, an Native American tribe that has been based in the San Diego area for more than 12,000 years. San Diego Padres star Manny Machado will also have an ownership interest. The total investment in the organization could exceed $700 million.

“We are excited to welcome San Diego as our 30th team to Major League Soccer,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “For many years we have believed that San Diego would be a great MLS market because of its youthful energy, its great diversity and the fact that football is such an integral part of everyday life for so many people. Mohamed Mansour and the Sycuan Tribe have an incredible “vision for building a club that will inspire and unite football fans across the city and region.”

The club will enter the league for the 2025 season. The move will bring Mansour closer to buying a football club in England. He currently owns a Danish Superliga team and has ‘definitely’ had an English team on his radar for the last few years. According to the report, the 75-year-old is worth around $3.6 billion.

San Diego already has two professional soccer clubs in the city. The San Diego Wave is one of the newest clubs to join the National Women’s Soccer League, and the San Diego Loyal compete in the USL. This franchise is coached by former USMNT star Landon Donovan.

The new San Diego team will play at Snapdragon Stadium, which opened last year and is currently home to the SDSU football team, a major league rugby team and the Wave.

MLS has grown significantly in recent years. Both Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC entered the league in 2020. Austin, Charlotte and St. Louis followed in the years that followed. St. Louis City SC was the 29th team in the league to start play this season. It was the ninth new team added to the league since 2019.

Garber said earlier this year that the league would announce plans for a 30th team by “the end of the year.” San Diego was among the finalists along with Las Vegas. It’s unclear if the MLS will attempt to expand the 30-plus team – bringing it level with the NBA and MLB.

“We never say never to anything because, you know, our plan evolves as the market evolves. We never thought we’d be 24, we never thought we’d be 26,” Garber told ESPN on Thursday.

“[But] I don’t think sitting here today that we plan to go beyond 30 teams any time soon. We still have a lot of work to do to build the league and sort of capitalize on the opportunity that we all see ahead of us in the years to come, especially into 2026, but who knows what the future holds after that, but nothing in the immediate future for sure.”

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