San Diego

San Diego's 1904 FC Debut Delayed

New pro soccer team will not start inaugural NASL season in March

San Diego’s newest professional soccer team is going to have to wait for a while to play its first game … if it gets to play any games at all.

1904 FC is set to join to the North American Soccer League and was scheduled to have its first match in March. But the NASL is involved in a legal battle with the U.S. Soccer Federation so the league has decided to postpone the start of the 2018 season. It’s now hoping to play its season during the global soccer schedule (anywhere in the window between August 11, 2018 and June 1, 2019).

The sticking point involves the status of the North American Soccer League, which has previously played with second-division status, the highest level of minor league soccer. U.S. Soccer decided not to renew that status so the NASL filed a lawsuit to have the status reinstated.

A ruling on that case has not yet been made and with the start of the season looming the NASL decided to push the start of the season back. If they lose the case and their second-division status there is the possibility that the NASL could continue as a lower division or an independent league. 1904 FC would also have the option to join another league.

What does this mean for the proposed 10,000-seat stadium 1904 FC plans to build in Oceanside, a facility it would move in to for the 2019 season? A spokesperson for the club told NBC 7 SportsWrap "Regardless of the decisions that have been made our stadium operations in Oceanside for 2019 are in full speed and unaffected."

For the 2018 season the club had planned on using USD’s Torero Stadium for its inaugural campaign but that was when it was going to play from March through the summer. Moving the season back to the fall will conflict with the Toreros football and soccer programs but 1904 FC President Bob Watkins says USD is still willing to work with the club to host as many events as possible.

"The people at USD have been fantastic to work with through this," said Watkins. "They've offered to work through their schedule to see what dates they could provide us for competition."

Depending on if and when the lawsuit is resolved the NASL may not give 1904 FC the full complement of 10-plus home games, instead falling in the range of four to six home games.

In the meantime Watkins says the club may use some of the dates they have already reserved Torero Stadium for events such as guest games or youth soccer camps.

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