Landon Donovan’s San Diego Loyal USL team is retiring after 2023

Cesar HernandezAugust 24, 2023 at 01:43 PM ET3 minutes to read

San Diego Loyal have been unable to find a suitable solution for their home stadium and will be ceasing operations after playing their final season in the USL Championship this year, the club announced Thursday.

The club was co-founded by US men’s national team legend Landon Donovan, who is currently the Executive Vice President of Football Operations, and the club will collapse after a four-season run from the second division that began in 2020.

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“Four years ago, Landon Donovan and our group of investors embarked on a journey to bring professional soccer back to San Diego. I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished in the first three seasons,” said club president Andrew Vasiliadis. he said in the video.

“Over the past six months, I myself, [president] Ricardo Campos and a small part of my team have been looking at all viable options up and down the coast until we can find solutions. [the] Academy, for training facilities, l [a] stadium.

“From Oceanside to the Borders, we looked at everything and left no stone unturned. Unfortunately, after looking at all that, I’ve come to the conclusion that this will be San Diego’s last season for Loyal.”

Landon Donovan also coached San Diego’s Loyalty between 2020 and 2022.Sean Clark / Getty Images

According to the USL, “a viable near- and long-term stadium solution has yet to materialize in the market” for the team that currently plays at San Diego University’s 6,000-capacity Torero Stadium.

“A modern, commercially viable stadium solution is vital to our clubs’ long-term success and is a pillar of USL’s growth strategy,” said Justin Papadakis, USL Executive Vice President. periodic statement.

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“Despite pursuing multiple potential options collectively with SD Loyal leadership in the San Diego area, no solution has been reached that is appropriate for the stadium.”

“In the coming months, the USL will provide more information about the franchise transfer,” the statement added.

A source told ESPN that the lease on Torero Stadium “isn’t a good fit.” Due to USL championship requirements that a team’s home stadium must seat at least 5,000 spectators, the nearby UCSD football stadium did not qualify as the Loyal’s new home.

The decision to withdraw comes after MLS announced in May that it had awarded the city of San Diego the league’s 30th franchise. The first-division club is scheduled to play its home matches at San Diego State University’s 35,000-capacity Snapdragon Stadium, which will begin play in 2025.

The Loyal team was reportedly not involved in the expansion bid.

In 2018, SDSU won the local election to redevelop the Mission Valley land formerly home to the NFL Chargers (now in Los Angeles) into the since-demolished SDCCU stadium. A similar rival measure put forward by Donovan, which focused on bringing MLS to San Diego through its “SoccerCity” initiative, lost the election.

The Loyal currently has a record of 10W-7D-7L and is fifth in the USL Western Conference table. After the end of the regular season in October, the top eight from the Western and Eastern Conference tables will qualify for the playoffs.

Information from ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle contributed to this report

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