Ghanaian and Egyptian youngsters from Right to Dream Academy are to join new MLS side San Diego FC for unprecedented career opportunities after the Egyptian owner of the Akosombo-based academy bought the MLS side on Thursday.
Right to Dream Academy, the renowned football institution founded in Ghana and owned by Egyptian billionaire Mansour, sealed the historic purchase of the Major League Soccer (MLS) club on Thursday as announced by the President of the league.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber officially announced on Thursday night that MLS has awarded its 30th team to the city of San Diego's consortium led by the Egyptian billionaire who bought the Right to Dream Academy a few years ago.
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 a six-time Major League Baseball All-Star and current member of the San Diego Padres, Manny Machado.
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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.”
By sealing this purchase, aspiring Ghanaian footballers will have the opportunity to further develop their careers and join the ranks of esteemed players who have achieved global recognition, such as Mohammed Kudus and Kamaldeen Sulemana.
The integration of Right to Dream Academy's expertise into San Diego FC's framework will not only benefit the young talents but also offer new coaching opportunities for former African footballers.
Esteemed figures like Michael Essien from Ghana and Djimi Traore from Mali, who have transitioned into coaching roles at Nordsjaelland and Right to Dream Academy, respectively, will bring their invaluable experience and mentorship to San Diego FC.
Additionally, the collaboration will leverage the expertise of South African chief scout Jeremy Seethal and his assistant, Derek Boateng, a former Ghana international.
The press statement released during the unveiling of San Diego FC emphasizes the collective vision of Right to Dream Academy and the MLS club.
By combining their strengths, they aim to create a lasting impact on African football and provide a platform for talented youngsters to achieve their full potential.