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Eden Hazard, Demba Ba part of new San Diego NASL club’s ownership

A San Diego-area expansion team will start play in the North American Soccer League next year, with Eden Hazard, Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye, and Moussa Sow all part of the ownership group.

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The Southern California city is currently without a professional soccer team, though a separate ownership group, which includes former U.S. star Landon Donovan, is also trying to win a bid for a Major League Soccer expansion team.

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The MLS bid has the support of the mayor but has been met with controversy, with opponents saying FS Investors are primarily concerned with its massive SoccerCity development project, which will include hotel and retail space on the site of Qualcomm Stadium, the former home of the NFL’s Chargers.

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Bob Watkins, the NASL team’s president, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that his group was “soccer specific” in contrast, and is purposely avoiding a downtown venue in favor of a 10,000-seat stadium that could open as early as next August.

The NASL faced financial difficulty last year, but expanded to California with the San Francisco Deltas beginning play this season, while a new Orange County team will also start in 2018, about 100 miles north of the San Diego club.

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