San Diego Loyal disband soccer club after just four seasons


Credit: SD Loyal

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Credit: SD Loyal

Thursday, August 24, was a sad day for the city of San Diego.

After just four incredible seasons, the San Diego Loyal have decided to disband the soccer club.

There are many questions that will be answered in the coming weeks. But for now, the decision is a tough pill to swallow. Some may have seen this move coming after Major League Soccer announced an expansion club granted to San Diego starting in 2025. However, I don’t think anyone saw this decision to be made this quickly. The fans and supporters of this team are feeling out of sorts as this soccer club has done such a fantastic job of connecting with them.

SD Loyal Chairman Andrew Vassiliadis and former manager Landon Donovan had a vision.

Back before the special inaugural game in 2019 against Las Vegas Lights FC, those two San Diegans knew what they were doing. They knew that the city of San Diego and the mixed population of locals would fall in love with a professional soccer club that gave back to the community.

They were right.

The city fell in love with this team. Fans who didn’t understand the sport very much now had a team they could call their own. San Diego isn’t known for being a sports town to the naked eye. Outsiders don’t understand what sports truly mean to this city. SD has never had a major soccer team to root for. The San Diego Soccers mean a ton to the community, but they are not big enough to really capture the attention the city deserves.

The Padres were all the city had as the Chargers left for Los Angeles in 2016. That upset and frustrated many fans in the region, and despite many people denying it, the San Diego Loyal name 100% is a shot at Dean Spanos and the Chargers for departing.

Andrew Vissiliadis was born and raised in San Diego. His vision to bring an original and authentic soccer club to his hometown worked. Was his goal to eventually bring this club on up to MLS? Who knows. Either way, It shouldn’t matter. Vissiliadis and Donovan’s dream is coming to an end quicker than anyone hoped.

San Diego FC

Yes, a major reason as to why this decision was made was because of San Diego FC. The newest MLS expansion team will debut in 2025, and they will be playing at Snapdragon Stadium … the very stadium that they Loyal were trying to play their home matches at. The San Diego Wave currently play there as one of the 12 NWSL teams, but it is owned by San Diego State.

San Diego FC
Credit: San Diego FC

The moment that San Diego won the bid as the final expansion city, the Loyal’s hopes of remaining in the city became very slim. It is a complicated situation as the sport is quickly becoming very popular in the United States. The USL Championship serves as a quality feeder league to the MLS. Some clubs fight for their chance to eventually become an MLS team, but we have seen that just isn’t the case.

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What Went Wrong?

Following up with the SDFC news, another reason as to why this move was made was because the team was unable to secure a stadium. They couldn’t play at Torero Stadium at the University of San Diego forever.

“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,” USL Deputy CEO Justin Papadakis said. “Despite collectively pursuing multiple potential options with SD Loyal’s leadership in the San Diego area, an appropriate stadium solution has not materialized.”

The business side of things truly sucks. It makes situations much more complicated than it needs to be. The team took advantage of Torero Stadium and were able to put on a ton of great performances in front of around 5,000 fans. The stadium was packed, and it seemed as if there were more than 5,000 fans there each occasion.

Despite not having a stadium of their own, the team managed to be one of the more popular clubs in the entire USL Championship.

“Bottom line, no matter how well a team performs on the field, having the right stadium situation is essential for all professional sports teams,” Papadakis said. “We are working with our current and expansion clubs to develop soccer-specific stadiums that will ensure a strong commercial foundation for the clubs and give fans a place to call home for decades.”

USL CEO Justin Papadakis was not shy of informing the supporters that a stadium is necessary for continuing on.

Again, there will be more info provided from the team and USL Championship in the coming weeks, as said by the USL themselves.

Credit: Ryan Young/EVT Sports

For now, the Loyal will continue to do what they do best, and that is put a quality soccer club on the field for San Diego. Everyone should go support them, as they have been playing their hearts out in front of you for the last four seasons. The team has just four home matches left. If you haven’t been to a match yet, then you are seriously missing out. Head out to Torero Stadium before you miss your chance to watch unique and authentic soccer.

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