Ranch & Coast Magazine

September 2023

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the two-time defending champion United States team couldn't make it out of the Round of 16. However, five ladies on the San Diego Wave FC roster in the National Women's Soccer League competed on four different nations' teams in the World Cup, including U.S. superstar and Wave forward Alex Morgan. e Wave plays at Snapdragon Stadium and is in its second season of existence, continuing through October 15. e team is drawing home crowds that would make a few Major League Baseball clubs jealous. Over at Torero Stadium, e Loyal men's team of the (Division II) United Soccer League will play its regular season games through mid-October. e Loyal were co-founded in 2019 by former U.S. National Team standout Landon Donovan (he played a short stint on the Sockers). Fun fact: e Loyal name is often noted as an implied dig at the disloyal San Diego Chargers, who said ta-ta and left for LaLa Land in 2017. Not-so-fun-fact (if you're a Loyalist): e Loyal will soon be supplanted as the top local male soccer team. San Diego was awarded a spot in (Division I) Major League Soccer. For a $500 million fee, the international Mansour Group and the local Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation get to field an MLS team at Snapdragon starting in 2025. On August 24, very sadly, Loyal ownership announced this will be its last season. Back to fun facts: On July 25, Snapdragon hosted a friendly match between dominant world power Manchester United and lower- tier Welsh team Wrexham AFC. In 2020, the now-rejuvenated Wrexham Red Dragons were purchased by American actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. If you're unfamiliar, check out the documentary series Welcome to Wrexham. Season 2 begins streaming on Hulu on September 12. Life imitates art as soccer's popularity here rises. Recall the emotional boost the sport got from Apple TV+ streamer Ted Lasso. As the starry-eyed, titular head coach character actually uttered, "You say impossible, but all I hear is 'I'm possible.'" Go-o-o-o-al! "On the Sunny Side" columnist Ron Donoho is a veteran contributor and editor of downtown-centric thesandiegosun.com. E GREW UP LARGELY oblivious to the world's most popular sport. For decades, American airwaves were dominated by football, not fútbol. Now, the latter is making a fast break, especially here in San Diego. New pro soccer leagues are popping up faster than distant relatives of a Powerball winner. Soccer legend Pelé called it "the beautiful game," implying that soccer is the people's game — no fancy gear required, playable anywhere. And when teams come together for a match, the fanaticism and fervor surpass even that of a Taylor Swift concert. San Diego soccer success traces to the Sockers. e team has a history that kicks back into the 1970s. Heads were turned when the team joined the Major Indoor Soccer League and won eight championships between 1983 and 1992. e Sockers are still fan faves. ey currently play in the Major Arena Soccer League and are scheduled to begin the 2024 season in a new Frontwave Arena in Oceanside. If you've never watched indoor soccer, imagine human foosball played inside a pinball machine. You may have noticed FIFA Women's World Cup being televised from Australia and New Zealand during August. Disappointingly, PHOTO COURTESY OF SAN DIEGO WAVE FC Just for Kicks Surprise! Or is it? Soccer is surging in San Diego Detour on the sunny side W San Diego Wave FC ranchandcoast.com 106 SEPTEMBER 2023 RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE

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