By this time next year, soccer fans in San Diego may have a professional soccer team to cheer for.
A report from NBC San Diego says that the United Soccer Leagues (USL) is in negotiation to put an expansion franchise in the city with the chance that it could play in next year’s USL season. The report also says that USL has had discussions with the University of San Diego to potentially play home games for at least the inaugural season at Torero Stadium.
This isn’t the first time professional soccer has been linked to San Diego. Just last month, Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber mentioned San Diego as an expansion candidate. In December, another report listed former San Diego Padres owner John Moores as one of two groups looking to bring MLS to San Diego.
There are two generally accepted methods of USL and MLS expansion. “Top-down” expansion, in which a single owner or group of owners buy and expansion bid into a league and then proceed to build a club from scratch (see NYCFC), and “bottom-up” expansion in which a lower league club gains popular local support, attracts investors, and gains entry into a higher league (see Orlando City SC).
MLS expansion to San Diego is a real long shot, but a USL franchise is within reality and any team looking to kick off the 2017 season would need to announce their franchise sooner rather than later. Time will tell. Stay tuned, San Diego.