EL CAJON, Calif. — San Diego’s new Major League Soccer team is preparing for its inaugural season in 2025, breaking ground on a cutting-edge training facility on the Sycuan Reservation in El Cajon.
Egyptian billionaire and San Diego FC Chairman Mohamed Mansour talked about the allure of MLS expansion in San Diego.
“San Diego’s the natural growth for us. We wanted to buy into an MLS team and the opportunity came. We couldn’t find a greater place than San Diego to do it because, naturally, the weather, the people. We’ve had enormous support from the community and we see ourselves as caretakers for San Diego FC and it’s the community that’s gonna help us build it,” Mansour said.
The 125,000-square-foot training facility will spread out over 28 acres with five soccer fields. It’s the first-of-it’s-kind sports facility on Native American land.
And it’s the first major sports organization in America to be jointly owned by a Native American tribe.
“We’ve been a strong community partner with the San Diego Padres, the former San Diego Chargers, even the Loyal and others. It’s been a dream for us to be able to find an opportunity that fit for us to be able to be on the ownership side of the table,” said Cody Martinez, Sycuan Tribal Chairman and Vice-Chairman for San Diego FC.
Plans include more than a team training facility after the tribe made a push for Mansour to bring in his Right to Dream youth development academy, which will draw some of the best players 12-and-up from the U.S. and Mexico.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber gave glowing reviews for what the ownership group plans to accomplish.
“They’re coming together to do something here in this community that I think is going to transform the way people think about Major League Soccer — I think the way they think about the game overall,” Garber said.
Construction on the facility is expected to begin next spring.