The San Diego Loyal returned in July to Torero Stadium at the University of San Diego for its first game since March. Photo by Chris Stone

San Diego Loyal Soccer Club introduced its part-time youth development program known as Loyal Select Friday, part of the club’s effort to expand soccer’s reach in the San Diego region.

The program will participate in the USL Academy League and provide opportunities to build and develop a local professional pathway for elite players in the region while allowing these players to remain with their respective youth clubs for training and matches.

“When SD Loyal was started, we made it clear that we would be committed to authentically representing San Diego,” said Landon Donovan, vice president of soccer operations and SD Loyal first team manager. “There’s no better way to show that commitment than to give young San Diegan soccer players the opportunity to play professional soccer for their hometown club. Loyal Select is the first step in that process and will provide these young men the tools to become better people and better players.”

Loyal Select, led by current SD Loyal assistant coach Matt Hall, will collaborate with all current youth clubs in the San Diego region and participate in the Southwest Division of the USL Academy League. Players have the opportunity to train normally with local clubs and receive training with SD Loyal once a week. The part-time program plans to practice and compete in its home matches at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center.

The program’s season will run parallel to SD Loyal’s season and play roughly 10 matches over that period.

“I have been a part of the San Diego Youth Soccer community as a player and coach for over thirty years,” Hall said. “I have always loved this city and I always will. To be a part of Loyal Select is truly special for me and I look forward to providing another platform for young players to evolve and grow so they can reach new heights and make their community proud.”

Players eligible for consideration must be part of any local youth club in the region and born in 2005 or later. For more information on the youth development program, go to sdloyal.com/loyalselect.

San Diego Loyal is the newest member of United Soccer League Championship, a U.S. Soccer Federation-sanctioned Division II league. The club finished its inaugural season in 2020 with a 6-5-5 record. It plays at Torero Stadium at the University of San Diego.

–City News Service

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