MLS Preparing For 2023 and Beyond

Las Vegas and San Diego remain expansion possibilities.

The Major League Soccer pre-season is underway with teams preparing for the 2023 season. The league office is also preparing for the 2023 season and beyond. The league is still seeking a 30th franchise with San Diego and Las Vegas in the running. San Diego suddenly became a viable option for the team for a simple reason, there is a stadium in the city that can be used for soccer. Las Vegas needs a stadium. San Diego has just one Major League team, Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres franchise so in theory there can be some corporate money available for an additional sports franchise. The National Football League’s San Diego Chargers ownership abandoned the city following the 2016 season after the team owners, the Spanos family, could not get a football stadium built locally. In 2016, San Diego voters said no to funding a soccer stadium at the site of the city’s stadium that once housed the baseball Padres and the NFL’s Chargers. San Diego State University built a smaller stadium on the site and there was some campus expansion nearby.

But the San Diego State University stadium could be used for soccer. In May 2022, San Diego State athletics director JD Wicker said the venue was given the go ahead by MLS officials as a venue that was up to league standards. The San Diego news was somewhat of a surprise in that the MLS seemed to be honing in on Las Vegas as an expansion site and that would give the league 30 teams.  The problem in Las Vegas is money. The league probably wants a big paycheck from a would-be owner and then a soccer only facility. San Diego has a stadium advantage over Las Vegas.

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