SoccerCity has asked Major League Soccer (MLS) to wait for the results of the Nov. 2018 initiative vote before determining the final cities to get MLS expansions.
SoccerCity Project Manager Nick Stone announced the campaign -- "Wait for SD" -- with a handful of fans there to support the decision, and the continued push to bring soccer to San Diego.
"The fans that stand behind me, the legion of fans that have supported us, we’ve heard their level of enthusiasm," Stone said. "We’ve heard their support for this idea, we’ve heard the consistent and repeated requests for figuring out a way to deliver soccer to the city and we think San Diego is worth the wait."
The SoccerCity initiative would put forth a plan to redevelop Mission Valley's Qualcomm Stadium site. The site would include a new stadium for MLS soccer, a river park, housing and a sports and entertainment district.
In June, the San Diego City Council voted unanimously, 8-0, to put the SoccerCity initiative on the November 2018 ballot, shooting down the option for a special election this fall.
However, MLS officials need a fully-fledged stadium plan by the end of 2017, Stone said.
"So were it, on its face, taken as a straight conclusion that you could not have a vote before November 2018, there would be no path we could see to major league soccer in the city of San Diego," Stone said.
But, Stone said, the fight to bring soccer to San Diego is not dead yet. "Wait for SD" will urge MLS to allow San Diegans to vote on the initiative before awarding all of their expansion cities.
There are, of course, no guarantees, Stone said. MLS officials may award all expansions without waiting for San Diego.
"That’s all we’re asking," Stone said, referring to the MLS. "We’re asking that with at least one of the expansion franchises, you wait long enough to allow the city of San Diego to show their true support for this idea."
But he hopes the fans' enthusiasm will help give the initiative a fighting chance.
"We would encourage all the fans out there to let their voices be heard so that the league knows that there’s a city in America, one of the 12 that is competing for a franchise right now, that desperately wants the chance and deserves the chance to secure an expansion franchise," Stone said.
The campaign will include fan events in the future in addition to a social media push, Stone said.