Eden Hazard, Demba Ba Behind Ownership Group Launching NASL Club In San Diego

In an unexpected turn, Eden Hazard is one of several EPL experienced players starting a new NASL franchise in San Diego.

Upon hearing the announcement of a new professional soccer team in San Diego, you’d probably expect to see Landon Donovan and Don Garber chumming it up. Donovan has been a main force behind bringing a MLS franchise to San Diego over the past six months. However, it’s the NASL and a group of European-based stars, led by Eden Hazard, returning soccer to the beach city

This is a surprising and timely move for the NASL, which has seen its status as the premier division two league in the United States challenged by USL over the past year. 

The league expects the new club to join play for the Spring 2018 season. They will use the University of San Diego’s campus stadium until they are able to locate and secure land for a new stadium, which will be privately funded by the ownership group. 

That group is headlined by Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Demba Ba (Besiktas), Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace) and Moussa Sow (Fenerbahce), which will prompt the inevitable rumors of one or more of them ending up with the club before their careers are over. Just this year, the U.S. has seen Didier Drogba become a part owner of a Phoenix-based USL side and take to the pitch. 

Speaking about the future club, Ba stated: “Success is our goal – with the club, with the community, with everything that we do. One of our goals is to sign players who have a strong passion for the game, who are competitive and love to win. 

“All my life as a football player, I lived with competition and competition is going to be good for us and for San Diego. I look forward to competing against our fellow California clubs and the rest of the NASL, as well as MLS clubs in the U.S. Open Cup. It is going to be up to us to be the best.”

Team name, colors, logo, manager, etc. are all still yet be announced, but eager fans in the area can sign up for updates here

Overall, it’s a big move that makes U.S. Soccer’s decision on the long term plans for division two and three soccer that much more complicated.

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