SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Loyal, a professional soccer club in the USL Championship, announced Thursday that it will shut down following the 2023 season.
In a video posted Thursday morning, team owner Andrew Vassiliadis confirmed that the second-division club would fold after four seasons.
The news comes just over three months after San Diego was announced as the location for Major League Soccer’s next expansion team. MLS San Diego will begin play at Snapdragon Stadium in 2025.
The Loyal joined the USL Championship in 2020 with Vassiliadis as owner and soccer legend Landon Donovan as supporting owner and the club’s first team manager.
In the video posted to social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, Vassiliadis said the team had been looking into options countywide for academies, training facilities and stadiums, but ultimately determined there were no viable options for the club to continue after the 2023 season.
In a news release issued Thursday by the USL, the league cited the lack of a viable stadium as the driving factor in the Loyal shutting down.
“Having a modern, commercially viable stadium solution is vital to our clubs’ long-term success and is a pillar of the USL’s growth strategy,” said USL Deputy CEO Justin Papadakis. “Despite collectively pursuing multiple potential options with SD Loyal’s leadership in the San Diego area, an appropriate stadium solution has not materialized.”
Since the club’s inception, the Loyal have played their home matches at Torero Stadium on the University of San Diego campus.
The Loyal have four home games left on their 2023 regular season schedule and 10 games left overall. The club is currently fighting for a playoff spot in the league’s Western Conference.
If the team does not qualify for the playoffs, the last home game for the Loyal will be on Oct. 7 against the Oakland Roots.
It is not yet known if the Loyal’s franchise rights will be sold or transferred to a new owner or whether the club will simply fold after the season. USL said they will have more information on the franchise rights in the coming months.