SoccerCity Will Bring MLS to San Diego With All the Joys of Professional Soccer
More than just an effort to bring pro soccer to San Diego, SoccerCity’s Measure E will revitalize San Diego and create a dynamic Sports and Entertainment area along with a River Park and more. SoccerCity will bring MLS to San Diego and provide a free MLS Development Academy for the city’s best youth soccer players.
If you have a kid playing soccer, love the beautiful game or realize the power soccer has to unite people of all backgrounds, Measure E makes sense. And, it saves money. According to SoccerCity, the crumbling stadium and parking lot cost San Diego taxpayers $8 million per year. SoccerCity turns this mess into a massive economic asset for the city and for taxpayers.
Soccer News: We reached out to soccer superstar and now San Diego resident Landon Donovan to ask his insights on SoccerCity and Measure E as the days count down to the San Diego election.
November 6th will be a date remembered by people who care about soccer in San Diego forever. Here are the reasons you should care too.
SoccerToday’s Interview with Landon Donovan on why people should Vote for SoccerCity – Measure E
Diane Scavuzzo: How are you feeling about the upcoming election on November 6th in San Diego for SoccerCity and bringing MLS to America’s Finest City?
Landon Donovan: There’s been a massive momentum shift in the last month, and we are extremely excited about the reaction from San Diego voters. We are confident that our message and the facts are being presented and that the voters will make the right decision.
Vote Yes on Measure E and No on Measure G.
Diane Scavuzzo: I’ve been doing a little research online and I have found more than a fair share of information that isn’t favorable to SoccerCity. Why is there so much distortion and confusion?
Landon Donovan: From the beginning, those against the project wanted to push their own agenda. A lot of the funding against SoccerCity comes from developers in Mission Valley — who see us as competition.
They have a development that is still being built, and if there is this shiny new SoccerCity right down the road, why would you buy their apartments or condos?
Diane Scavuzzo: If you remove the commercial real estate mercenary perspective from all of this controversy, anyone who loves soccer, anyone who has a child playing soccer — do they realize the importance of voting for an MLS team to come to San Diego?
Does everyone realize what an MLS team will do for the city of San Diego?
Landon Donovan: Once people hear the facts, I would say 99% of the time, if they had opposed us, they change their mind and pledge to vote Yes on Measure E.
There’s no other sport that galvanizes a community the way soccer does.
And let’s be honest, this is a town that needs that. The Chargers are now gone, we have no NBA team, no NHL team, and the Padres haven’t been successful in a long time. San Diegans need a sports team to get excited about.
Plus, there are so many other pieces of the project that people would benefit from 365 days a year.
Measure E, SoccerCity, won’t cost anybody a dollar — that’s the big difference between these two Measures.
Whether you love soccer or not, Measure E will be incredible for this city, for our economy, and for our civic pride as well as our future.
Diane Scavuzzo: So if you’re talking to an SDSU fan or someone who intrinsically believes that a university would have a ‘purer’ interest than a commercial venture — what would you say? Some people may vote for SDSU West’s Measure G because it has the name SDSU.
Landon Donovan: The developers who are backing the SDSU West initiative are not SDSU.
They are developers, and cleverly use the university’s name to make people think that they are the university, and they’re not.
I believe both initiatives will perfectly meet SDSU’s needs, both now and in the future, the difference is one has a Major League Soccer team, a river park, a sports, an entertainment district, traffic mitigation, and doesn’t cost people anything. While the other has none of those added perks and will cost taxpayers and students money.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is your response to the rumors that you moved to San Diego to get an MLS team?
Landon Donovan: Well, I moved to San Diego before any of this came about and perhaps most importantly because my wife is from San Diego and grew up here. She has lived here most of her life.
When we had children, we made the conscious decision that we wanted to live in San Diego. I’m not going anywhere, whether this passes or not. We love it here and we are here to stay.
I am proud to be in San Diego, and we are raising our family here.
Diane Scavuzzo: In the beginning, did you expect this much opposition to Soccer City?
Landon Donovan: Initially no, but I quickly was told by people that I was an idiot for getting involved in this. I kind of was naive but to be honest, I like the challenge, and we want to bring positive change to this city.
Diane Scavuzzo: SoccerCity could be great for tourism, attracting teams from around the world to come to play in San Diego…
Landon Donovan: Yes. We will have international games coming here to play.
Diane Scavuzzo: When other pro teams have failed in San Diego, why do you think SoccerCity will be successful?
Landon Donovan: We are uniquely positioned in San Diego because of our proximity to the border. There’s a reason why Major League Soccer desperately wants to be in San Diego, and that’s because during the World Cup Final …
…San Diego was the #1 rated market for watching the soccer game on TV.
Overall, San Diego was the fifth-rated Neilsen market for the World Cup.
We have the opportunity to unify this city in a way that no other sport can. I have lived it, I have traveled and seen what this sport does to communities and cities, and that’s exactly why I want this to be part of San Diego.
Diane Scavuzzo: There are more than 25,000 kids putting on their soccer jerseys and lacing up their cleats on the weekends already— do we really need an MLS club? I know that driving to LA to watch MLS soccer is not fun but…
Landon Donovan: San Diego deserves its own pro team. When you go to a soccer game in your hometown, and you can see the players up close, and speak to one after the game, it changes your perspective on the sports, and it can be incredibly uplifting.
San Diego also deserve an MLS Development Academy where youth players can train for free.
Players will not need to pay $3,000 or even $5,000 a year to play soccer — we will have a youth academy where kids from San Isidro to Carlsbad and from Alpine to the Pacific Ocean can have the chance to train 100% free. Players won’t have to pay a penny and they can get the best training, the best tutoring, the best mentoring anywhere in this region — all for free. That’s what we will do with SoccerCity.
Diane Scavuzzo: Does an MLS Development Academy really do a better job than a local youth soccer club can?
Landon Donovan: We have the resources, so we don’t have a cap on how much we can pay a coach or how much we can spend on field maintenance or if we feed the players breakfast and lunch, or if we give them college tutoring in their off time.
We have the resources to do all of those things. There are incredible coaches in San Diego, incredible technical directors, and incredible directors of coaching. We will have the ability to hire the very best to make our players the best they can be.
Diane Scavuzzo: So what would you say to the rumors that say that SDSU can bring in an MLS team as well?
Landon Donovan: They’re false. Major League Soccer has a definite criterion when they’re looking to expand. Is a market right? Is the ownership group credible, trustworthy, and does it have the financial strength to be in a major league sport?
I’ve played in Major League Soccer for 15 plus years. I have a close relationship with the MLS commissioner Don Garber and we have a group of very wealthy individuals who want to bring this sport to San Diego.
It’s very clear that MLS will come to San Diego when Measure E passes. And there is zero percent chance that they will come if measure G passes.
I want your readers to know that the only initiative that guarantees a river park gets built and is funded is Measure E, the SoccerCity initiative.
We are committed to paying $40 million dollars for a river park and maintaining it for 99 years.
Conversely, measure G doesn’t even have the river park in their initiative. If you actually look at their initiative, the property they are proposing to sell to the state of California does not include the river park. All the measure says is that San Diego has to provide a river park for that area which means taxpayers have to provide a river park for that area. So taxpayers would pay for the river park, not SDSU West.
Diane Scavuzzo: As a final comment, what would you say to somebody going off to vote?
Landon Donovan: I think it is important for people heading to their polling station on November 6th to realize that we will meet the university’s needs without spending taxpayer money which SDSU West will do.
If you want a Major League Soccer team, a river park to be built, a sports and entertainment district, if you want all those things, in addition to SDSU’s needs being met…
Then vote for measure E. Please.
Photo Credit for Images at Footy For All Event: David Norris