Thousands of people filled the streets of North Park on Saturday morning for a World Cup viewing party. Fans crowded University Avenue to watch the final on a pair of large screens.
While fans were there to watch the game between France and Croatia, some of the organizers were there to send a political message.
“We can bring a Major League Soccer team here, along with a lot of other things. All for free, nothing to taxpayers,” said soccer superstar Landon Donovan.
Donovan took the stage at halftime, encouraging San Diegans to vote for the Soccer City initiative this November.
“It’s pretty obvious that San Diego is a soccer city, and we want that permanently, so we want to make that happen,” Donovan added.
The message resonated with many of the soccer fans at the party, who are anxious to bring soccer to San Diego.
“He was talking about bringing a stadium, an MLS team here. Vote on November 6th," said San Diego resident Kassy Lee.
“I grew up playing soccer and worshiping him as an American hero, so I’m happy what he’s doing for San Diego, trying to bring a team here,” said Connor Butler, a lifelong soccer fan.
But for some, the deal is too good to be true.
The “No on Soccer City” campaign says there is no guarantee an MLS team will come to San Diego.
“Taxpayers will be on the hook, for paying for traffic, for paying for river park construction, and for giving away a valuable piece of land, for a price that these guys set,” said Laura Fink, spokesperson for the “No on Soccer City” campaign.
The competing SDSU West, ballot initiative aims to build a new college football stadium in Mission Valley and expand the campus.
The SDSU West campaign issued a statement:
“SDSU West is the only initiative that requires a stadium inclusive of all San Diegans’ interests, one that creates a home for San Diego State University football, accommodates professional soccer and is adaptable for the NFL. We look forward to the passage of SDSU West come November, and a new era of sports in San Diego.”
The measure that gets the biggest majority of San Diego voters will win.