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San Diego officially awarded 30th team in MLS and will begin play in 2025

Major League Soccer (MLS) awarded its 30th team to San Diego on Thursday, with the club set to make their debut in 2025 under the ownership of entrepreneur and investor Mohamed Mansour.

San Diego, which was a well-publicised front-runner to be awarded the expansion franchise, follows several other recent additions to the top-flight North American league, including St Louis City SC, which debuted this year.

"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," MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement.

Mansour, the founder and chairman of London-based investment firm Man Capital, shelled out a reported $500 million fee for the expansion franchise, making it one of the largest deals ever for a soccer club.

The team will share the new, 35,000-seat Snapdragon Stadium with an existing women's team, San Diego Wave of the National Women's Soccer League.

Las Vegas, which has experienced a recent sporting boom with the addition of the NHL's Golden Knights and the relocation of the NFL's Raiders and WNBA's Aces, was also considered a front-runner, as MLS looks to seize on the momentum of the 2026 World Cup in North America.

Joining Mansour's ownership group are the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, the first Indigenous tribe to have a stake in professional soccer in the United States, according to MLS.

Mansour, a senior treasurer and key donor for Britain's Conservative Party, called the partnership a chance "to create a powerful and lasting legacy for the city and region."

"Sycuan has deep roots to the San Diego community," said Sycuan Tribal Chairman Cody Martinez.

"Our MLS team will provide us with a great opportunity to bring together many different segments of the community."

Adding some star power to the ownership ranks is the San Diego Padres six-time All-Star Manny Machado.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York, Editing by Toby Davis)

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