SAN DIEGO — San Diego Loyal SC has officially come to an end.
The Loyal’s final game came down to the very last minutes. Ultimately, the team fell to the Phoenix Rising 3-4 in dramatic overtime during the first game of the USL Championship playoffs. The Rising scored in the last minute of the 30-minute overtime.
Fans, players and coaches were all emotional after the loss.
Loyal fans sold out Terero Stadium to watch what could have been the team’s last game Sunday evening.
After the game, fans FOX 5 talked to were emotional, calling the team a “family.” Many said the team’s tenure proves San Diego is a soccer town, and are looking forward to the inaugural season of the new Major League Soccer team, San Diego FC, at Snapdragon Stadium in 2025.
“Just really sad that this is it. We didn’t get the win, and it’s like saying goodbye to a family member, so we’re sad,” one Loyal fan told to FOX 5. “Thanks for all the memories, thanks to the team for building a family, it’s a community.”
At the end of the game, players were giving away their jerseys and cleats to fans — taking their time soaking in their final moments at Torero Stadium.
Star-Loyals player Alejandro Guido talked with fans for more than an hour after the game, and eventually gave away everything he was wearing. He walked back into the locker room in just his underwear.
“San Diego is a soccer team and we’ve shown it with the other teams as well,” another fan said.
The Loyal merchandise was on sale during the last home game and many fans took advantage of it. Some t-shirts were just $10, hoodies were around $20 and some jerseys were just $30. The line to get one was long, but fans said it was worth it to own a “relic.”
The franchise announced it would disband at the end of this season in August, shortly after the announcement of the new MLS team in San Diego. The USL cited the lack of a viable stadium as the driving factor in the Loyal shutting down.
The Loyal joins a list of other professional soccer clubs in San Diego that closed, including the Toros in the ’60s, Jaw’s in the ’70s, and the outdoor Sockers in the ’80s. However, none of those teams faced sharing a market with an MLS Team.