Will San Diego Get To Vote on MLS SoccerCity Initiative?
Will San Diego become a real soccer city? With a thriving soccer culture, cross border rivalry with nearby Mexico and tens of thousands of youth soccer players … San Diego deserves to be a real Soccer City. After a huge outpour of support from San Diegans, now it may get the chance but there are still hurdles to overcome.
Good news this week as the effort to bring an MLS team to San Diego continues.
FS Investors — the group which includes La Jolla investor Mike Stone, former Qualcomm President Steve Altman and Peter Seidler, part of the Padres ownership — is bidding to bring MLS to America’s Finest City and they want the San Diego’s City Council to add a measure on the expected Nov. 7 ballot and ask voters to approve the SoccerCity’s billion-dollar plan to redevelop the Qualcomm Stadium site in Mission Valley.
Doesn’t the finest city in America deserve a new, glorious soccer stadium which could seat approximately 20,000+ fans? The 50 year old Qualcomm stadium is badly in need of renovation and the new facility would be a bonus for the Aztecs and San Diego University.
The $200 million soccer stadium is a part of a $1 billion redevelopment for the 166-acre site in Mission Valley.
The plan even allows for 15 acres to be set reserved for a minimum of five years if for some reason NFL football wants to return for San Diego. And, the SoccerCity plan is entirely privately financed by FS Investors.
Clearly this is a plan where everyone wins, especially soccer lovers. The citizens of San Diego seem to be rallying around SoccerCity.
FS Investors collected over 118,000 signatures in just 12 days — nearly 50,000 more signatures than required.
Unprecedented in the city of San Diego, originally FS Investors had hoped to collect the required number of signatures by June.
USA’s Soccer star Landon Donovan, who has become the face of the movement to bring #MLStoSD, was pleasantly surprised but the tremendous outpour of support for the initiative.
“As we have said from the beginning, we would support a public vote as long at it would fit within Major League’s Soccer’s timeframe for selecting cities,” said Donovan. “As we learned yesterday, that is now the case. That’s why we are asking the City Council now to place this before voters as part of the planned special election on Nov. 7th. We are happy to have the people decide.”
With 12 cities vying for 4 remaining MLS expansion franchises, the MLS has agreed to wait to make a decision until after the San Diego voters have cast their votes. Other cities include Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg, Cincinnati, Sacramento, San Antonio, Raleigh/Durham, St. Louis, Phoenix, Detroit, Indianapolis, Nashville and Charlotte.
The first two expansion cities will be announced before the end of 2017. San Diego is hoping to become the 25th or 26th MLS franchise. The two other franchise opportunities will be announced at a later date.
A FOX 5 reader poll shows a high level of support for the SoccerCity project.
The proposed “Soccer City” redevelopment would have an economic impact of $2.8 billion by the time of completion, according to the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. A total of nearly 42,000 construction jobs over the life of the project and almost 26,000 other new, permanent jobs would be created, according to the EDC.
Mark Cafferty, EDC president and CEO, said, ”A project of this size presents strong economic opportunities for our region.”
The special election is likely for the SoccerCity initiative — and will need the support of every soccer lover in the area to make sure it passes and becomes a reality — a gift we can give to generations to come, and enjoy ourselves in just a couple of quick years.