LOS ANGELES: Major League Soccer’s new Los Angeles club will enter the league in 2017 with the backing of an international fleet of high-profile owners.
Just days after announcing it was disbanding the struggling Chivas USA – which long played second-fiddle to the Galaxy in Los Angeles – the league on Tuesday announced that a brand new expansion franchise in the Southern California city would open for business in a new stadium in 2017.
The team is owned by a group led by Vietnamese-American entrepreneur Henry Nguyen, sports and entertainment leader Peter Guber, and sports veteran Tom Penn.
Other investors include Vincent Tan, Malaysian owner of Cardiff City, Ruben Gnanalingam, co-owner of the English Premier League’s Queens Park Rangers, Los Angeles basketball legend and Magic Johnson, US women’s football great Mia Hamm and her husband Nomar Garciaparra, a former Major League Baseball star.
“We are thrilled to welcome Henry Nguyen, Peter Guber, Tom Penn and their owner partners to Major League Soccer,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a release.
“This visionary ownership group will chart a course that will further elevate the sport in this great city and, combined with a new state-of-the-art stadium, accelerate us down the path toward becoming one of the top soccer leagues in the world.”
The new team, currently known as “Los Angeles Football club” will apparently be open to fan suggestions on its eventual name and logo. “Los Angeles is a diverse, vibrant market with millions of soccer fans, and we look forward to an intense rivalry between the Galaxy and Los Angeles Football Club,” Garber said.
Chivas USA, launched in 2005 by Jorge Vergara, owner of Mexico’s Chivas de Guadalajara, and Mexico businessman Antonio Cue, were never able to establish themselves in the shadow of the Galaxy – their landlord at the StubHub Centre. Nguyen said developing a stadium for the club would be a top priority.