On Monday morning, the NASL (a division two league in American soccer) announced that San Diego County would be entering the league and making its debut in Spring of 2018. The California club is backed by four major football stars: Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye, Moussa Sow, and perhaps the biggest name in the group, Eden Hazard. Besides an expectedly large budget, these names bring to the new club an international connection and network that other NASL clubs can only dream of having. Affiliations, marketing, and recruiting are all made relatively simple for the new club by virtue of the owners’ names. Hazard, who plays for Chelsea FC in England and won Premier League Player of the Year in 2015, had this to say:

San Diego County will grow the league to an even ten teams for the 2018 season, after Orange County was also approved for the 2018 season earlier this summer, while the San Francisco Deltas made their debut at the start of the 2017 Spring season.

The NASL continues to compete with the USL for the more prominent division two league in North America, and has fallen short in recent years. The USL features several MLS reserve teams, such as Orlando City B, and is directly affiliated with MLS, which means more money and marketing availability. However, the NASL continues to grow, and the additions of Orange County and San Diego are certainly steps in the right direction. The league is extremely diverse, as well as competitive, with large-budget teams like Miami FC competing with the less-than-wealthy Jacksonville Armada.

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