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MLS announces its 30th team, which will debut in 2025

San Diego will be home to Major League Soccer’s 30th team, MLS announced at a press conference at Snapdragon Stadium on Thursday.

MLS commissioner Don Garber was joined by businessman Mohamed Mansour and Sycuan Tribe chairman Cody Martinez for the announcement. San Diego Padres star Manny Machado also is part of the ownership group. The new team will debut during the 2025 MLS season, a year before the U.S. ― along with Canada and Mexico ― hosts the 2026 World Cup. A team name and crest will be revealed in the future.

‘We are thrilled to welcome San Diego to Major League Soccer as our 30th team,’ Garber said in a statement. ‘For many years we have believed San Diego would be a terrific MLS market due to its youthful energy, great diversity, and the fact that soccer is an essential part of everyday life for so many people.  Mohamed Mansour and the Sycuan Tribe have an incredible vision for building a club that will inspire and unite soccer fans throughout the city and region.’

The ownership group fronted by Mansour will reportedly pay an expansion fee of $500 million. That fee represents the most ever paid for an MLS team, topping the $325 million paid by David Tepper ― also owner of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers ― for Charlotte FC in 2019.

The 30th franchise means that MLS has tripled its roster since it was a 10-team league in 2004. MLS’ 29th team ― St. Louis City SC ― began play this season and has been one the league’s early-season surprises, currently sitting in fourth place in the 14-team Western Conference.

NWSL’s San Diego Wave FC is big draw

The San Diego MLS team will join the NWSL’s San Diego Wave FC, San Diego State Aztecs football and San Diego Legion of Major League Rugby as tenants of Snapdragon Stadium. Since moving into Snapdragon Stadium upon its August 2022 completion, San Diego Wave FC ― which is in its second season ― has set NWSL attendance records. It drew a capacity crowd of 32,000 for a 1-0 win over Angel City FC on Sept. 17, 2022. It also drew 30,854 for a 3-2 win over the Chicago Red Stars on March 25, 2023. Those games represent the two highest-attended matches in NWSL history.

California premier league

San Diego will give the state of California four MLS teams (joining Los Angeles FC, Los Angeles Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes), which tops Texas’ three teams (Austin FC, FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo FC). LAFC are the defending MLS champions and will face Club León of Liga MX in the Concacaf Champions League final starting on May 31, aiming to become the first reigning MLS champion to win that competition. While the Galaxy own a league-high five MLS Cup titles, the Earthquakes have won two MLS Cups.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY

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