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San Diego Loyal SC to Cease Operations After 2023 Season

Highmark Stadium. San Diego Loyal

The USL Championship announced that San Diego Loyal SC will cease operations after the 2023 season in a press release on Thursday. 

The reasoning from the club closing is, “after a viable near- and long-term stadium solution in the market did not materialize.” The stadium San Diego Loyal use now is Torrero Stadium, the home for the University of San Diego, which seats around  6,000 and where their football and soccer teams play at.

Torrero Stadium was always meant to be a temporary solution for the Loyal and that there were plans in place to build a new stadium. None of those plans went through, despite extensive work from the Loyal ownership group, including former USMNT star Landon Donovan.

The official term for the end of the San Diego Loyal that the USL gave was that they will “the transition the franchise rights.”

“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 wrote in the release. “Despite collectively pursuing multiple potential options with SD Loyal’s leadership in the San Diego area, an appropriate stadium solution has not materialized.”

San Diego Loyal ownership briefed the coaching staff and the players of the decision of the Wednesday, according to reports, meaning that they knew prior to the USL release.

The Loyal have been one of the more successful clubs in the USL Championship since starting in 2020, making back-to-back quarterfinals appearances in the playoffs the past two seasons.

The main reason for the disbandment of the club is due to the MLS awarding an expansion club to an unaffiliated group in San Diego. The new MLS team in the area is set to open up in 2025 at SnapDragon Stadium, also the home of the San Diego Aztecs football team.

San Diego Loyal Chairman and Owner, Andrew Vassiliadis, posted a statement Thursday on Twitter, thanking the fans for their support over the past few years.

“San Diego, we are one with you,” Vassiliadis wrote. “Our love for this city runs deep. This is our home, and we are proud to be part of its rich and diverse fabric. Our plan is simple. We aren’t going anywhere.”

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds played San Diego once, which happened this season in June at Highmark Stadium, ending in a dramatic 2-1 for the home team.

Riverhounds president Jeff Garner left a heartfelt note for the Loyal under their Twitter post announcing the intent to fold after this season.

San Diego will compete in their final 10 regular season games and then the playoffs if they make it. They are currently in fifth place in the Western Conference with 37 points after 24 games played.

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Glory on the Grass

Riverhounds MF Kenardo Forbes

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