SAN DIEGO -- Soccer star Landon Donovan is bringing the professional game to San Diego.
Donovan and business partner Warren Smith will launch a USL Championship team in San Diego in either 2020 or 2021. The expansion team has been approved by the league and would play for at least three years at the University of San Diego's Torero Stadium, which holds about 6,000 people, according to SI.com.
Donovan confirmed the news by tweeting out the article:
I couldn’t be more excited about this new challenge and the opportunity to bring professional soccer to America’s Finest City! Thank you to @TheWarrenSmith for your vision, guidance and passion. Let’s go San Diego!!!!! ⚽️⚽️⚽️ #USLSD #SoccerinSanDiego https://t.co/KxQbEKUzh1
— Landon Donovan (@landondonovan) June 19, 2019
The USL Championship league started in 2011 and has teams in the United States and Canada. It is part of the structure of Major League Soccer, the top pro soccer league in the U.S., with some of the teams serving directly as developmental squads for MLS organizations.
Smith played a major role in founding the now two-year-old Sacramento Republic USL team.
The 37-year-old Donovan is the U.S. men's national team's all-time leader in goals and assists. He also holds those records in Major League Soccer.
Donovan joined the San Diego Sockers arena team earlier this year, marking the third time he has come out of retirement to play professionally since 2014. He played for the LA Galaxy in 2016 and played half a year with Club León in Mexico last year.
The soccer star, a San Diego resident, was active in the push for SoccerCity, a ballot initiative that aimed to reimagine SDCCU Stadium in Mission Valley as a 23,000-seat soccer stadium with an MLS team. That measure ultimately fell to a competing proposal to give San Diego State a campus extension and control over the stadium's refurbishment.
The soccer star was also a guest analyst on FOX 5 in our coverage of the 2018 World Cup.