Plans for a professional soccer team in San Diego hit a snag this week when the United Soccer League announced its seven expansion teams and San Diego was left off the list.
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1904 Football Club, which had hoped to join the USL after the North American Soccer League essentially folded, is now without a league again. Team owners told the San Diego Union-Tribune the club is committed to staying in San Diego.
Besides the USL, there are two other leagues 1904FC could join, the USL’s new Division III league and the National Independent Soccer Association. The Division III league is set to begin in 2019 and the NISA is forming and trying to launch. Neither though would bring in the money nor fans that the USL would.
1904FC, derived from the city’s S and D initials — S is the 19th letter in the alphabet and D the fourth, was started by Demba Ba, a professional player from Senegal, French National Team midfielder Yohan Cabaye, who plays for Crystal Palace in the English Premier League; and Moussa Sow, a French-born Senegalese forward known for his acrobatic goal-scoring abilities in France and Turkey’s top leagues.
The club’s owners, according to the team website, are Bob Watkins, a San Diego State University graduate and chairman of the U.S. Rugby Foundation; Alexandre Gontran, a French coach credited with developing Ba’s skills and convincing the founders to consider San Diego as the destination for their team; and Vagno Chandara, a Parisian former professional futsal player.
The team announced last year it plans to build a 10,000-seat soccer stadium at El Corazon Park in Oceanside. The facility was expected to be completed next summer and be ready for the club’s second season of play.
The 51-acre park already has multiple soccer fields and is a 10-minute walk from a North County Transit District Sprinter station for easy access.
The club had initially planned to start playing this past March but that was before the NASL fell apart.
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