Right to Dream Academy acquires MLS side San Diego FC to elevate Ghanaian talent
Right to Dream Academy, the renowned football institution founded in Ghana and owned by Egyptian billionaire, Mohamed Mansour, has acquired a new club in the esteemed Major League Soccer (MLS) in America called San Diego FC to create new pathways for young Ghanaian footballers.
This groundbreaking acquisition marks the largest football deal involving an African organisation, signaling a transformative opportunity for Ghanaian African football talent.
The acquisition of San Diego FC provides Ghanaian, Egyptian, and other African youngsters trained at Right to Dream Academy with a prestigious platform to further hone their skills and excel at the highest level.
San Diego FC, set to make its MLS debut in 2025 at Snapdragon Stadium, will serve as the flagship destination for the talented graduates of Right to Dream Academy.
MLS Commissioner, Don Garber, officially announced on Thursday night that MLS has awarded its 30th team to the city of San Diego and will begin play in 2025 at Snapdragon Stadium.
San Diego’s MLS club will be owned by Mohamed Mansour, a distinguished entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist with deep, global ties in the sport, and by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, led by Chairman Cody Martinez.
The Sycuan Band becomes the first Native American tribe to have an ownership stake in professional soccer in the United States. Also joining the investor group is six-time Major League Baseball All-Star and current member of the San Diego Padres, Manny Machado.
Other founding partners include Brad Termini, Co-founder, Zephyr Partners, Tom Vernon, Founder, Right to Dream and Dan Dickinson, Board Member, Right to Dream. Highly respected sports executive Tom Penn will serve as the club’s CEO.
“We are thrilled to welcome San Diego to Major League Soccer as our 30th team,” said Commissioner Garber. “For many years we have believed San Diego would be a terrific MLS market due to its youthful energy, great diversity and where soccer is an essential part of everyday life for so many people. Mohamed Mansour and the Sycuan Band have an incredible vision for building a club that will inspire and unite soccer fans throughout the city and region.”
Mansour is the founder and chairman of the London-based investment management firm, Man Capital, which owns Right to Dream (RTD), the global soccer community of world-class academies, clubs and partners with an innovative approach to identifying and nurturing talent.
RTD has developed numerous world-class players who have gone on to play at the highest level for club and country in MLS, the UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup, including seven graduates who represented their countries in the 2022 World Cup including several players in the Ghana national team, the Black Stars.
RTD also operates an elite performance and development environment at Danish Superliga club, FC Nordsjaelland, that is studied and admired globally.
“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the Sycuan Tribe to bring Major League Soccer to such a deserving community and legion of San Diego soccer fans. This is a real opportunity to create a powerful and lasting legacy for the city and region,” said Mr Mansour.
“We look forward to introducing Right to Dream’s unique developmental approach and unparalleled soccer expertise to San Diego and MLS by delivering tangible benefits to the community as we look to open doors and identify and nurture talent from across the county and beyond.”
The joint acquisition of San Diego FC by Right to Dream Academy and an American business group represents an extraordinary achievement for African football.
This partnership offers aspiring footballers an unparalleled chance to showcase their abilities, following in the footsteps of notable alumni such as Mohammed Kudus and Kamaldeen Sulemana, who achieved global stardom at Nordsjaelland FC in Denmark, also owned by Right to Dream.
Additionally, this collaboration creates new coaching pathways for esteemed former African footballers. Figures like Michael Essien from Ghana and Djimi Traore from Mali, who currently hold coaching positions at Nordsjaelland and Right to Dream Academy, respectively, will bring their wealth of experience and knowledge to support the growth of San Diego FC.
Moreover, the partnership will leverage the expertise of South African chief scout, Jeremy Seethal and his assistant, Derek Boateng, a former Ghana international, to maximise the potential of the players and the club.
Egyptian billionaire, Mohamed Mansour’s, ownership and investment, coupled with the involvement of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation and other partners, ensure a powerful and diverse ownership structure.
This landmark deal not only elevates the status of African football, but also showcases the immense talent and potential nurtured by Right to Dream Academy