Torero Stadium's Home to San Diego Pro Sports — Loyal Soccer, Legion Rugby

Torero Stadium's Home to San Diego Pro Sports — Loyal Soccer, Legion Rugby

The University of San Diego's fine sports facility, Torero Stadium, has been a busy place to be of late. Workers have been diligently getting the venue ready for live professional sports action now through early autumn.

The San Diego Loyal Soccer Club, a new United States League Championship soccer team, has tapped USD's Torero Stadium as its home field beginning with the 2020 season. A three-year contract between the Loyal and USD was reached last fall.

"This is an opportunity for the University of San Diego to bring something special to campus," said Joshua Lawrence, USD Associate Athletics Director for Facilities and Operations, while he was on the stadium's grass field talking and watching crew members install a new LED video board and ribbon boards for advertisements and additional game information. "USD is blessed with wonderful facilities such as Torero Stadium and a great (natural) grass field that people really desire to play on."

The Loyal will play a friendly (exhibition game) against the Costa del Este Football Club at 8 p.m. Feb. 22 in Torero Stadium, but the team's actual USL season-opening home game is Saturday, March 7 at 7 p.m. against the Las Vegas Lights FC.

The Loyal, whose executive vice president of soccer operations and head coach is former U.S. National Team and Major League Soccer standout Landon Donovan, will play subsequent home games on March 14 and 28, April 4 and 18, May 9 and 31, June 6, 24 and 27, July 3 and 18, Aug. 8, 12 and 15, Sept. 5 and 13, and Oct. 4. All home games, with a few summer exceptions, are played on weekends to avoid major parking conflicts.

“Playing our inaugural season in 2020 was important to us, to the league and most importantly to the San Diego soccer community,” said President and Co-founder Warren Smith. “The excitement and anticipation we have for the season is palpable. We have our sights on our opening night at Torero Stadium, and that incredible moment we can take the pitch for America’s Finest City.” 

The Loyal's arrival actually gives USD two San Diego pro sports franchises utilizing Torero Stadium. The San Diego Legion, a member of Major League Rugby, is in its third season using Torero Stadium as its home field. The Legion, off to a 2-0 start, opened their schedule Feb. 6 at home against 2019 MLR champion Seattle. The Legion plays its next home game on Sunday, Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. against the New England Freejacks. Additional Legion home dates are: March 8 and 22, April 5, May 3 and 25. All Legion home games, with a few summertime exceptions, are played on weekends.

The pro teams' presence gives USD, Torero Stadium and San Diego a visibility boost. For local, national and international fans, they can attend a game on campus or see them online or on the CBS Sports Network and ESPN’s network of channels. Gaining more exposure for USD through sports and its facilities has been a common practice in the last several years, Lawrence said.

The university’s track record is consistent for hosting professional and national college teams at various campus facilities. Torero Stadium has been the home field for the now former San Diego Spirit of the Women's United Soccer Association. Other soccer highlights include the 2012 NCAA Women's Soccer College Cup (Final Four/National Championship), USA National Team games for the men and women and an L.A. Galaxy (MLS) vs. Club Tijuana friendly in which David Beckham and Landon Donovan suited up for the Galaxy. Several NFL teams have used USD facilities for practices prior to playing the former San Diego Chargers, such as the New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins. NBA teams such as the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers have used Jenny Craig Pavilion for training camp. Fowler Park, USD's baseball facility, hosted San Diego Padres-Cleveland Indians spring training exhibition games a few years ago. 

Lawrence said there will be other amenities within Torero Stadium through the agreement with the Loyal. The scoreboard, which is almost three times the original board that was in place, will remain in use for USD’s football and soccer games. The 6,000-seat stadium can accommodate additional seating for Loyal games, if needed. Bigger crowds mean more concession stands will be open, a VIP area will be created at the south end corner of the stadium and Eagan Plaza will have food and beverage options, too.

In all, the Loyal and Legion add excitement and more activity on campus. "We want the campus community to be aware of what's happening. We wanted to listen to their feedback about bringing more events to campus. Bringing professional sports to campus is one way to do this. We want this to be a sense of pride for them, for Linda Vista and USD," Lawrence said.

Tickets for the Loyal games and Legion games are available online. Tickets can also be purchased at Torero Stadium on game day, pending availability.

— Ryan T. Blystone

Torero Stadium, which is home to USD soccer and football and hosted the 2012 NCAA Women's Soccer College Cup as seen here, is now home to USL's San Diego Loyal Soccer and MLR's San Diego Legion Rugby.Torero Stadium, which is home to USD soccer and football and hosted the 2012 NCAA Women's Soccer College Cup as seen here, is now home to USL's San Diego Loyal Soccer and MLR's San Diego Legion Rugby.

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