We are San Diego’s premier outdoor professional men’s soccer club. We launched on June 19, 2019 upon the announcement by the United Soccer League (USL) that the group led by experienced soccer executive Warren Smith – a co-founder and former President of Sacramento Republic FC – had been awarded franchise rights for the market.
The USL Championship is one of the most successful professional soccer leagues in the world, reaching a population of more than 84 million supporters while fueling the growth of the game across North America. The league currently serves as the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) sanctioned Division II professional league, placing it under MLS (Division I) in the United States’ soccer pyramid. The Championship is owned and operated by the USL, the largest professional soccer organization in North America, which oversees three leagues and more than 100 clubs across the United States and Canada.
The Championship itself currently consists of 36 clubs playing in two conferences in 2019. The top-ten clubs in each conference then square off in Championship Playoffs, capped by the USL Championship Final between Nov. 14-18. Past winners have included Louisville City FC, which last year made history when it became the league’s first back-to-back champion as it defeated a Phoenix Rising FC side led by legendary international forward Didier Drogba for the title. Other former winners include the New York Red Bulls II (2016), Sacramento Republic FC (2014), and Orlando City (2011 and 2013), which claimed two USL Cups before joining MLS in 2015.
No, and in fact, the real question is “what do you want the Club’s name to be?” This is a club that will be built from the grassroots up; ultimately it will be the San Diego community that will decide not only the Club’s name but what they want this Club to represent.
We all know San Diego is a unique city, both in its residents and as a place. It can mean something special to each of us, but there are also parallel stories and shared experiences that can be communal. Starting in Summer 2019, the Club will engage and listen to the community through a series of events, workshops and online surveys for those values and characteristics that make San Diego the unique place it is.
We’ll engage some talented local designers to consider all these elements, stories and suggestions and produce something which truly resonates and represents our region. And because a club’s crest is a symbol worn over our hearts, it will be a symbol for San Diego that all of us will be proud to wear.
Soccer is a communal and social sport. There is a reason you find so many of us at the pub both in the early morning hours and late at night cheering and chanting for our favorite clubs. We will be no different. We will be hosting a series of events for the San Diego soccer community to gather – from Watch Parties to town halls.
Updates and details for all of these opportunities will be via uslsandiego.com and our Newsletter.
The Club reached a three-year agreement with the University of San Diego (USD) to host its matches there. USD has previously hosted numerous international exhibitions, MLS preseason contests and NCAA College Cup championship games at Torero, along with the WUSA’s San Diego Spirit from 2001 to 2003. We are thrilled to play in such an iconic stadium and to be a partner with USD towards building the beautiful game for the people of San Diego.
We are currently working with our partners at USD to develop an authentic soccer experience…and yes, that means beer will be served. We also want to hear from you on what you want to see at the matches. Share with us your ideas, thoughts and similar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Club will be led by veteran sports executive Warren Smith, who has created a career on building sports teams from the ground-up. Smith most recently was the co-founder and former president of USL Championship club Sacramento Republic FC, which broke nearly every record in the USL Championship’s history from revenue to attendance, selling out stadiums with crowds that reached as high as 20,231 fans to winning the USL Cup in its inaugural season.
Previously, Smith also led efforts to build facilities including Raley’s Field and Papa Murphy’s Park in Sacramento, Calif. and was part of a group that revitalized a small but mighty USL club called the Portland Timbers before it was sold to Merritt Paulson in 2007. The foundation built by Smith and his group in Portland provided the opportunity for Paulson to join MLS in 2011.
Because it takes a community to build a club, Smith will be joined by a group of local investors and staff that call San Diego home. Most notable will be U.S. Men’s National Team legend Landon Donovan as Executive vice president for soccer operations. In his new role, Donovan will oversee operations and will influence the Club’s style of play, manage player identification and acquisition and oversee on-field performance. A four-time U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year, Donovan made 157 appearances for the U.S. Men’s National Team, scoring 57 goals for his country, while enjoying a successful club career in MLS, the Bundesliga, the Premier League and Liga MX.
Additionally, joining the Club will be Ricardo Campos as the team’s vice president of operations. Campos previously served MLS and most recently the New York Red Bulls as the Club’s Technical Director. Campos was responsible for the building of the New York Red Bulls II club, which did the double in winning the 2016 USL Championship Regular Season title and USL Cup in its second year in the league.
Also serving the Club as consultants are Forrest Eber, former Chief Financial Officer of Orlando City Soccer Club and Matt Re, former inside Counsel of Sacramento Republic FC and the Sacramento River Cats.
With the Club in place, and home venue selected, our executive team will now focus on an intensive community outreach campaign to discuss everything from a club crest and name, to start date and club values. While the Club will certainly begin play no later than the 2021 season, the door remains open for the 2020 season, and we will continue to provide regular updates and share our progress with the community as we accomplish the necessary milestones.
Under the direction of Landon Donovan, our club roster will be built according to the Club’s official on-field launch, whether for the 2021 season or sooner. Donovan has already begun building our soccer operations, which includes scouting and talent evaluation. Our commitment to building the sport in San Diego will also include supporting our local youth clubs – boys and girls. We want to do all we can to elevate soccer for the community; our local youth teams will be critical partners in this mission.
Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to receive updates, including our first player signing.
Yes! San Diego is bursting with amazing homegrown soccer talent. A series of tryouts will be hosted at a date to be announced to identify both local talent and beyond. In addition, the Club may acquire players through loans or affiliations with other clubs.
There are 36 clubs in the USL Championship including fellow Californian clubs Fresno FC, Orange County SC and Sacramento Republic FC, and a wide range of clubs across the rest of the U.S. including Las Vegas Lights FC, Reno 1868 FC, New Mexico United in the Western Conference and Louisville City FC, Saint Louis FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the Eastern Conference to name a few.
Please visit uslchampionship.com to learn more about the fastest-growing league in North America.
The Championship’s regular season is 34 games; 17 home and 17 away, followed by a postseason contested by the qualifying clubs from each conference.
You better believe it! The first U.S. Open Cup was played in 1914, making it the oldest cup competition for soccer in the U.S. and the country’s oldest annual tournament for team sports. Teams from 17 different states have won the title, and this year’s edition of the tournament is its 106th edition as clubs from across the professional and amateur ranks compete for the title. As a member of the USL Championship, USL San Diego will receive an automatic berth in this historic tournament, which is one of the highlights of the domestic soccer calendar each year.
We believe that the beautiful game is best experienced standing and chanting for 90 minutes with your soccer family. We’ve seen the strong history of San Diego as a gathering place for supporters around the world, most especially for the U.S. National teams, and we look forward to supporting and cultivating any supporters interested in forming a designated supporter group. If interested, learn more about our supporters' initiatives or contact email@example.com for requirements and details.
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We are looking forward to partnering with the business community to help elevate the sport and invest in our local community. If your business is interested in becoming a corporate partner with USL San Diego, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A full line of merchandise will be launched and available for online purchase once the Club announces its name and presents its crest to the community. In the meantime, have that shopping list ready (and yes, expect scarves as well as beach towels).