Major League Soccer (MLS) this week officially announced that a new team will be coming to Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) will make its MLS debut in 2017. The team will play in a new stadium that will be built specifically for the team.
The team will be owned by an investor group led by Henry Nguyen and Peter Guber. Sports stars Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Mia Hamm Garciaparra, and Nomar Garciaparra are also members of the investment group.
“We are thrilled to welcome Henry Nguyen, Peter Guber, Tom Penn, and their owner partners to Major League Soccer,” said Don Garber, MLS Commissioner. “This visionary ownership group will chart a course that will further elevate the sport in this great city and, combined with a new state-of-the-art stadium, accelerate us down the path toward becoming one of the top soccer leagues in the world.”
— LAFC (@LAFC) October 30, 2014
The announcement makes LAFC the official successor to Chivas USA, the now-defunct MLS team that joined the league in 2005. Chivas had come under financial difficulties over the past few years and was acquired by the MLS in February 2014. The team was bought and officially disbanded this week as part of the LAFC deal.
Nguyen, a prominent investor who has helped bring McDonald's to Vietnam, will serve as managing partner for LAFC and Guber will serve as the team's executive chairman. Guber is the CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group, co-executive chairman of the Golden State Warriors, and a co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“We believe this team can become one of the most outstanding clubs in Major League Soccer and a globally-recognized brand,” said Nguyen.
Despite the league's slow start in 1996, the MLS has grown significantly over the past decade. Eight teams have joined the league since 2005, including teams such as Seattle Sounders FC, Philadelphia Union, and Montreal Impact. Two more teams will take the field during the 2015 MLS season, New York City FC and Orlando City SC.
Los Angeles is already home to one MLS team, LA Galaxy. The team has been part of the MLS since the league's founding.