MLS announces expansion team in San Diego starting in 2025

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

California is about to get a fourth Major League Soccer team.

MLS announced plans Thursday to expand its league once again and add a 30th team in 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's reportedly set to buy the franchise for $500 million.

The club is set to be owned by Mansour and the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, which is an indigenous 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 stake. The total investment into the organization could top $700 million.

"We are thrilled to welcome San Diego to Major League Soccer as our 30th team," MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. "For many years we have believed San Diego would be a terrific MLS market due to its youthful energy, great diversity, and the fact that soccer is an essential 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 soccer fans throughout the city and region."

The club will enter the league for the 2025 season. The move will bring Mansour closer to purchasing a soccer club in England. He currently owns a Danish Superliga team, and has “definitely” had an English team on his radar in recent years. According to the report, the 75-year-old is worth about $3.6 billion.

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

San Diego's new team will play at Snapdragon Stadium, which opened last year and currently plays host to SDSU's football team, a Major League Rugby team and the Wave.

MLS has expanded significantly in recent years. Both Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC entered the league in 2020. Austin, Charlotte and St. Louis then followed in subsequent years. St. Louis City SC was the 29th team in the league, and it started 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 a finalist, along with Las Vegas. It’s unclear if MLS will try to expand past 30 teams — which brings it even 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 at 24, we never thought we'd be at 26," Garber told ESPN on Thursday.

"[But] I don't think sitting here today that we have any plan in the near future to go beyond 30 teams. We've got a lot of work to do to build the league to sort of capture the opportunity that we all see in front of us in the years to come, particularly through 2026, but who knows what the future looks like after that, but nothing in the immediate future for sure."

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