San Diego Loyal fans unfurl banner saying “Forever loyal owned by no one” during pregame ceremony in March. Photo by Chris Stone

The league-leading San Diego Loyal Soccer Club will resume play starting July 11, thanks to a decision Thursday by the USL Championship Board of Governors.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether home games, played at the University of San Diego’s Torero Stadium, will have fans in the stands.

Details on competition format, scheduling and broadcast will be made available in coming weeks, said the team coached and part owned by soccer great Landon Donovan.

The Loyal played four games this spring before matches were suspended, defeating Costa del Este 1-0 in a February friendly before beating Reno 1868 4-2, tying the Las Vegas Lights 1-1 and edging the Tacoma Defiance 2-1 on March 11.

San Diego’s latest pro soccer team thus tops the 18-team Western Conference of the USL Championship league with 4 points, ahead of six teams tied with 3 points each.

“Today’s announcement feels good, and I’m ecstatic for our club, coaches, players and fans,” said SD Loyal president Warren Smith. “We’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I look forward to days like our sold-out March 7 inaugural match.”

Manager Landon Donovan said: “We are excited to bring soccer back to our amazing fans in San Diego. Our players are eager to get back on the field and continue putting smiles on peoples’ faces.”

The year-old Loyal said the league’s return to play will be conducted in “strict alignment with all local and state public health guidelines.” A team spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

“USL HQ also remains in regular dialogue with the USL Players Association on all matters concerning player health and wellness protocols and looks forward to continuing those discussions,” the team said.

The Loyal hasn’t been fallow since their season was suspended in March, however.

Last week, the team announced that it helped raise $75,000 for The Conrad Prebys Foundation COVID-19 Response Challenge. The foundation will match the proceeds raised, bringing the total to $150,000 in support of Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego’s COVID-19 efforts.

“We are proud to see the outpouring of support from our fans and the community who along with our team, stepped up during this unprecedented time to raise funds for Rady Children’s as they continue to be a leader on the forefront of childhood healthcare,” said Smith, the Loyal president.

“The fact that we more than doubled our goal of $30,000 shows the true dedication of all parties involved to improving our community.”

Fans can download the official team app and sign up for updates and news via SDLoyal.com and #SDLoyal.

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