SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Loyal Soccer Club Chairman Andrew Vassiliadis announced on video the current season will be their final season.
The club is ending after four seasons. In June 2019, soccer executive Warren Smith founded The Loyal.
“It was just an amazing community ground-up organization. It’s really unfortunate San Diego is losing them,” Ryan Glover, a three-season ticket holder, said to FOX 5 on Thursday.
Glover said game time meant father and son time.
“After the first two games, I was very much hooked. I reached out to the Loyal to see if I could get a season ticket package, and I’ve been Loyal to the soil ever since,” Glover said.
“After every single game, team members would come out to 109 and they’d put up their hands and they would chant ‘WE ARE’ and we would all respond say ‘SAN DIEGO,’” Glover added.
“Having that and being able to see and talk and interact with pros that’s been invaluable,” Gerry Sanabria, a four-season ticket holder, said to FOX 5.
Sanabria has been a season ticket holder since the beginning. It’s become a family outing for Sanabria, which will soon be a hard one to let go.
“It’s disheartening and I wish that there was another path forward for the Loyal,” Sanabria said.
The team folding comes three months after the Loyal announced they were “not going anywhere,” with the arrival of a Major League Soccer Franchise expected in 2025.
The Loyal is under a three-year agreement to play at the University of San Diego’s Torero Stadium. Vassiliadis stated they spent six months looking at all viable options to stay in San Diego County. Vassiliadis said after not finding a viable spot, they came to the conclusion this would be the last season.
The team kicked off their inaugural season in 2020 and eventually advanced to the playoffs twice.
The Loyals now join a list of other failed pro-soccer clubs in San Diego, including the Toros in the ’60s, Jaw’s in the ’70s, and outdoor Sockers in the ’80s. However, none of those teams faced sharing a market with an MLS Team.
“It’s not surprising. I think in all of these endeavors it comes down to money,” Sanabria said.
Vassiliadis ended the video by thanking the players, staff and fans. The fans returned their gratitude.
“Like I said, this is really difficult, and from the bottom of my heart, I just want to thank everybody,” Vassiliadis said.
“It was just great to be able to root for people you had the opportunity to meet. And even though you kind of see them at the games over the years, the players they recognize and say hello and that is going to be a big miss,” Sanabria said.
“Thank you to the Loyal organization for everything you’ve done. You’ve helped me reconnect with new friends, helped me connect with family I haven’t seen in a while, and given me an experience with my son that I really couldn’t have captured at any other sporting event,” Glover said.
Currently, the Loyal is in fifth place out of 12 teams in the USL Championship.
They have 10 games left, four of them at home. The Loyal could host a playoff game if they secure a top-four finish.