SAN DIEGO (Nov. 14, 2019) – San Diego Loyal Soccer Club announced today highly acclaimed former U.S. soccer player Landon Donovan will lead in the role of Manager effective immediately. Donovan will lead in dual duties as both Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations and Manager. San Diego Loyal is the newest member of USL Championship and will begin play in March 2020 at Torero Stadium on the University of San Diego campus.
“There are no names more synonymous with men’s soccer in the U.S. than Landon Donovan,” said San Diego Loyal Chairman Andrew Vassiliadis. “Landon’s talent and knowledge of the game goes beyond just his skills as a player; during all those years he was a student of the sport and developed relationships within the industry that will be vital to us as we launch our club and assemble its first roster. We are honored to have him lead our technical side, both on and off the pitch.”
Donovan’s role as Manager also signifies his retirement from the sport as a player. During his 19-year professional career, Donovan’s accomplishments span both his time domestically and internationally. In total, he played for six men’s professional outdoor teams covering four leagues: Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Bayern Munich (Bundesliga); Everton (Premier League); San Jose Earthquakes and LA Galaxy (Major League Soccer) and Club León (Liga MX). He played in six MLS Cups, Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and won two MLS Supporters’ Shields. Individually, he was named to an MLS record 14-consecutive MLS All-Star games from 2001-2014, was honored with the Landon Donovan MVP Award in 2009 and won the Golden Boot in 2008, as well as being one of just two players to be named MLS Cup MVP twice. He holds Major League Soccer’s all-time lead in assists (136), playoff goals (25) and is the league’s co-leader in playoff assists (14). He is second to former international teammate Chris Wondolowski in the category of most regular-season goals with 145.
In addition to his professional career, Donovan’s contributions to the U.S. Men’s National Team continues to dominate the record books. He holds the all-time lead for the U.S. men in goals (57), assists (58), sits second in appearances (157) and is the only American player to surpass both 50 goals and 50 assists in his career. He was the fastest American to earn 100 caps and played for the U.S. in three FIFA World Cups. His individual awards include the only American to win the Golden Ball Award, FIFA’s Best Young Player of the World Cup in 2002, the CONCACAF Gold Cup MVP in 2013, the Gold Cup Best XI four times and U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year a record four times.
“I am truly honored to be named the first Manager in San Diego Loyal history,” said EVP of Soccer Operations and Manager Landon Donovan. “This is the right place, at the right time, with the right people for me to begin my managerial career. I am extremely grateful to The Locals and all of our amazing fans for putting their faith in me to help build a club that is authentically San Diegan. Together, we will put forward a product that all of San Diego can be proud of and that will bring smiles to countless faces.”
Donovan is currently finishing his U.S. Soccer license and is expected to complete it during the 2020 season.
Donovan has assembled a veteran and accomplished staff to support the club’s players on the technical side. The technical side will also be advised by former Sacramento Republic FC (USL) and Luton Town (Championship) coach Paul Buckle, retired U.S. Women’s National Team player and former NCAA coach Shannon Mac Millan and Sports Performance Consultant Jesse Saenz. San Diego Loyal’s technical staff will include Carrie Taylor as Assistant Coach, Elizabeth Rivas will be Operations Manager, Annemarie Alf DPT serves as Performance Director, Brittany Peterson ATC will be the Head Athletic Trainer and Marielle L'Heureux ATC will serve as Assistant Athletic Trainer. Discussions are underway with candidates for the final remaining open positions, including Assistant Head Coach.
San Diego Loyal will launch their inaugural season in March 2020. The club will hold their first round of open tryouts in December 2019 and training camp will launch in January 2020. The club is currently accepting Season Ticket Member deposits for seats. Learn more about San Diego Loyal’s technical staff and upcoming season at sdloyal.com and #SDLoyal.
ABOUT SAN DIEGO LOYAL SOCCER CLUB
Launched on June 19, 2019, San Diego Loyal Soccer Club is the newest member of USL Championship, a USSF-sanctioned Division II league and one of the most competitive pro soccer leagues in the world. The Club will play at Torero Stadium, under a three-year agreement with the University of San Diego. San Diego Loyal is built on four core pillars – independent, authentic, inclusive and optimistic. San Diego Loyal plays for America’s Finest City and is led by some of the best in sport. The Club is led by Chairman Andrew Vassiliadis, who is the youngest principal owner in USL Championship. It was founded and led on the business-side by experienced soccer executive Warren Smith, a co-founder and former president of Sacramento Republic FC. Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Landon Donovan, one of the most decorated soccer players in the U.S., leads the technical side. To learn more, visit sdloyal.com.