USL Championship expansion franchise San Diego Loyal SC (SD Loyal) has unveiled plans for a new 15,000-seat soccer-specific stadium in the Midway-Pacific Highway neighbourhood.

The masterplan forms part of a process initiated by the City of San Diego to redevelop the Sports Arena site. SD Loyal said the stadium would serve as the team’s temporary home for “up to a decade” as it builds its fan base.

The 2020 season marks SD Loyal’s first in the USL Championship after it was awarded an expansion franchise last year. The team currently plays home matches at the 6,000-seat Torero Stadium, which primarily serves as the home of the University of San Diego’s American football team.

SD Loyal will serve as a partner on the Midway Sport and Entertainment District (MSED) project team. MSED will seek to revitalise an “aging” area of San Diego with the addition of the temporary stadium, a new music venue, housing, retail, restaurants and a 12-acre public park.

The project would cost around $1bn (£799m/€879m) and would look to modernise the existing 48-acre Sports Arena site. The project would occur in three phases and would be completed by 2029 at no cost to taxpayers.

The MSED project is one of two plans being considered for the redevelopment of the Sports Arena site. The other is the Brookfield Property Development with ASM Global and would not include a separate soccer-specific stadium.

The modular stadium would form part of the first phase of MSED and work would begin in 2022. SD Loyal said the stadium would act as the “welcoming home” for the team for seven to 10 years as it works to secure a permanent location in San Diego.

SD Loyal president Warren Smith said: “We are thrilled to announce our partnership with the Midway Sports and Entertainment District project and are proud to be asked to participate in such an innovative concept.

“We want our club to continue to be a pillar in the community by creating passion for active sports and healthy living. We’re looking forward to the positive impact a project like this will have on the San Diego community by making it an even better place to live, work and play.”

He added: “Our club cares for the growth of our San Diego community and the new district project provides a great opportunity to transform an underutilised area into a place that celebrates our passion for fun and fitness.

“Our hope is that integrating with such a mixed-use space will help grow the fan base for not only the SD Loyal team but for soccer in general. San Diego is one of the largest soccer areas, and we want to reinvigorate fan passion for the sport.”

The City of San Diego began seeking proposals for the Sports Arena site in February and is now calling on residents to participate in selecting a winning proposal.

Image: MSED 4 SD (Twitter)