We now know who will lead San Diego’s new professional soccer team and where it will play. Team co-owner Demba Ba announced today that long-time soccer coach and player development specialist Alexandre Gontran will lead San Diego’s 1904 Football Club as General Manager and Head of Football Operations. The club also announced it is finalizing a lease with SoCal Sports Complex at El Corazon Park in Oceanside as the team’s permanent home venue. A modular stadium that will seat roughly 10,000 fans will be completed in time for the start of the 2019 NASL season.
“The beautiful game is about trust and instinct. There are not many people I trust more than Alex,” said Ba, who was groomed by Gontran the past 15 years. The two met in 2003 when Ba was 16. Gontran developed Ba into a world-class athlete who fulfilled his dream of signing a professional contract with European giant Chelsea Football Club in 2013.
Gontran began coaching in 1988 and brings more than 25 years of player development experience to 1904FC. With a proven specialty of training young athletes on and off the field during their most formative years, Gontran is excited about the opportunities San Diego presents.
“To build a professional football club means great responsibility,” said Gontran, “This opportunity is not about me, this is about the footballers of our community. This club will produce players that show the world our potential in San Diego. And there is tremendous potential here. I’ve seen many exceptional footballers, especially between the ages of 10 and 14. The talent at that level matches the best talent in the world.”
Soccer is often referred to as “beautiful game,” Gontran says 1904FC will also play the offensive game, “We think the future is offensive soccer, we want to develop mentality to score goals. Each game we will try to score lots of goals. Score every time.”
The modular stadium will be manufactured elsewhere, then shipped to Oceanside and assembled on-site at El Corazon Park. The stadium will feature architectural details that bring in iconic Oceanside landmarks.
Competition for 1904 FC is slated to begin on March 31, 2018 in the North American Soccer League (NASL). Home matches will be hosted at Torero Stadium on the University of San Diego campus, then the team will move into its new home in Oceanside.