The iconic football academy Right to Dream has bought a club in the United States of America top-flight league Major League Soccer (MLS) to create new paths for young footballers from Ghana and elsewhere in Africa to hone their talent to reach the global stage.
The academy, renowned for its exceptional football talent development, in a groundbreaking deal bought the club San Diego FC in Califonia to start playing in the top-flight next season.
This major acquisition marks a significant milestone in the African football landscape, opening doors for Ghanaian and African youngsters to further their careers and showcase their skills on the international stage.
San Diego FC, set to join MLS in 2025 at Snapdragon Stadium, will serve as an added destination for talented youngsters trained at the Right to Dream Academy in Ghana and Egypt.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber officially announced on Thursday night that MLS has awarded its 30th team to the city of San Diego and will begin play in 2025 at Snapdragon Stadium following the acquisition of the club by the Egyptian billionaire who bought the Right to Dream Academy few years ago.
San Diego’s MLS club will be owned by Mohamed Mansour, a distinguished entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist with deep, global ties in the sport, and by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, led by Chairman Cody Martinez.
The Sycuan Band becomes the first Native American tribe to have an ownership stake in professional soccer in the United States. Also, joining the investor group is six-time Major League Baseball All-Star and current member of the San Diego Padres, Manny Machado.
Other founding partners include Brad Termini, Co-founder, Zephyr Partners, Tom Vernon, Founder, Right to Dream and Dan Dickinson, Board Member, Right to Dream. Highly respected sports executive Tom Penn will serve as the club’s CEO.
“We are thrilled to welcome San Diego to Major League Soccer as our 30th team,” said Commissioner Garber. “For many years we have believed San Diego would be a terrific MLS market due to its youthful energy, great diversity and where soccer is an essential part of everyday life for so many people. Mohamed Mansour and the Sycuan Band have an incredible vision for building a club that will inspire and unite soccer fans throughout the city and region.”
Mansour is the founder and chairman of the London-based investment management firm Man Capital, which owns Right to Dream (RTD), the global soccer community of world-class academies, clubs and partners with an innovative approach to identifying and nurturing talent.
RTD has developed numerous world-class players who have gone on to play at the highest level for club and country in MLS, the UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup, including seven graduates who represented their countries in the 2022 World Cup including several players in the Ghana national team the Black Stars.
RTD also operates an elite performance and development environment at Danish Superliga club FC Nordsjaelland that is studied and admired globally.
“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the Sycuan Tribe to bring Major League Soccer to such a deserving community and legion of San Diego soccer fans. This is a real opportunity to create a powerful and lasting legacy for the city and region,” said Mr. Mansour.
“We look forward to introducing Right to Dream’s unique developmental approach and unparalleled soccer expertise to San Diego and MLS by delivering tangible benefits to the community as we look to open doors and identify and nurture talent from across the county and beyond.”
This partnership offers an exciting opportunity for aspiring footballers to hone their skills at the highest level, following in the footsteps of renowned graduates such as Mohammed Kudus and Kamaldeen Sulemana, who achieved global stardom at Nordsjaelland FC in Denmark, also owned by Right to Dream.
In addition to providing a platform for young talents, this collaboration brings new coaching avenues for esteemed former African footballers. Notable figures like Michael Essien from Ghana and Djimi Traore from Mali, who currently serve as coaches at Nordsjaelland and Right to Dream Academy, respectively, will lend their expertise to the development of San Diego FC.
Furthermore, the partnership will utilize the extensive knowledge and experience of South African chief scout Jeremy Seethal and his assistant, Derek Boateng, a former Ghana international.
The press statement from San Diego FC’s unveiling showcases the vision behind this groundbreaking partnership.
By combining the strengths of Right to Dream Academy and San Diego FC, the organizations aim to create a lasting impact on Ghanaian and African football while uniting passionate fans in both regions.