Padres slugger Manny Machado, dressed in a mustard-yellow suit that closely matched the color of the bulldozer behind him, grabbed a shovel and put on a hard hat to take part in the groundbreaking ceremony for the MLS expansion San Diego FC’s $150 million training complex and youth academy. The ceremonial event took place in El Cajon, California and marks an important milestone for the founding partner of San Diego FC.
Machado is deeply invested in the project as he is a founding partner of San Diego FC, which is spearheading the development of the training complex and Right to Dream Youth Development Academy on the Sycuan Reservation. This ambitious venture, ahead of San Diego FC’s MLS debut in 2025, is a joint effort between Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Mansour and the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation.
Expressing his enthusiasm for this groundbreaking project, Machado stated, “We said we were planting roots in San Diego, and what better way to see this project come to life than have our facility and youth development academy on the grounds of Sycuan Reservation. It’s an absolute perfect location in beautiful San Diego.”
Machado’s vision for the youth development academy aims to create more opportunities for San Diego athletes, both boys and girls, with the goal of nurturing the next generation of athletes and future leaders. Consequently, The Right to Dream Academy San Diego will be built alongside a state-of-the-art sports performance complex, full-sized soccer fields, and facilities to accommodate male and female students, providing a unique pathway for emerging talent.
In an effort to pay homage to the local Native American community, MLS Commissioner Don Garber expressed how the partnership with the Sycuan tribe is a testament to the inclusive nature of Major League Soccer.
The CEO of San Diego FC, Tom Penn, highlighted the complexity and significance of the project, emphasizing the unique and strategic location of the development as well as the notable infrastructure that will impact football excellence and innovation in North America.
With the first training camp set for January 2025, San Diego FC is preparing for their debut at San Diego State’s Snapdragon Stadium, with the expectation that the facility will be pivotal in the organization’s long-term success.
Machado, who recently underwent surgery to his right elbow, has been deeply involved in the project and is looking forward to creating long-lasting opportunities for young athletes. His commitment to the San Diego FC development academy underscores his dedication to making a meaningful and lasting impact.
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