The upstart 1904 FC has unveiled plans for a new Oceanside stadium that is slated to open in 2019, one year after the club’s anticipated NASL debut.
It was learned earlier this year that plans were in the works for San Diego to serve as an expansion market in the NASL for 2018, with the effort backed by an ownership grop that includes European star Demba Ba. Branding for the club–known as 1904 FC–was unveiled earlier this month, and details have emerged on the plan for a new stadium.
For the 2019 season, 1904 FC is planning to move into a new stadium in Oceanside. The facility, a modular structure, will be included as part of a partnership with the 22-field SoCal Sports Complex, which is located five miles east of downtown Oceanside. The club settled on this location after considering several options. More from The San Diego Union-Tribune:
“We started by looking at the county as a whole,” said 1904 FC president Bob Watkins, a local businessman who attended Crawford High and San Diego State. “We started out in Imperial Beach and Chula Vista and the Olympic Training Center. We moved up to Balboa Stadium, and we decided with all that was going on with SoccerCity we needed to go beyond that.
“We went to Del Mar, and while that was nice, it was a bit crowded and not much of an opportunity to build something. We went over to Poway. Then we went up to Escondido … Then we were introduced to the Oceanside area, and there already was a soccer facility that has the specific attributes important to us.”
Youth soccer players and their parents know it well, having participated in massive summer tournaments there. The stadium will be adjacent to the parking lot at the front of the complex, where it has erected temporary grandstands in the past to host international youth tournaments.
It will be a modular structure, cheaper and more portable than traditional stadiums because it is manufactured elsewhere in Southern California and transported to Oceanside in pieces for assembly, like Lego blocks. A rendering shows pillars meant to represent the Oceanside pier and aqua blue coverings between them that represent the ocean. The canopy above, then, is white-capped waves.
In 2018, 1904 FC is slated to spend at least the first half of the season at the University of San Diego’s Torero Stadium, with an announcement on the second half still pending. However, there are questions about the NASL’s future, as it was revealed in September that the U.S. Soccer Federation declined to extend the league’s Division II status into 2018. There has been legal fallout from that decision, with the NASL suing USSF, alleging that is has violated federal antitrust law. A hearing for a preliminary injunction is scheduled for October 31, but Watkins was quoted by the Union-Tribune as saying “We’ll be playing soccer … (The NASL) will exist. The division status will be determined by the courts. We’ve been working very, very hard bringing in other cities to the league.”
The two firms involved in designing and planning the 10,000-seat, $15-million stadium are Populous and GL Events. Construction is expected to start in September 2018.