Say it ain’t so, Joe.
Sweetwater High School alum and all around nice guy, Joe Corona joined the San Diego Loyal this year.
The move to the local professional futbol club came after meaningful stints with teams in Liga MX (the Mexican top tier professional soccer league), MLS (the United States’ first division professional soccer team), the Mexican National Team (youth division) and the United States Mens National Soccer senior team.
To many, however, I wager he was Joe the kid from Sweetwater High School.
The joy of watching and cheering for the local team is elevated when a local guy is on the roster, especially one of Corona’s stature. But that’s changing after this season.
The San Diego Loyal is playing its last season. The second division club is folding when the final whistle blows on the team’s final game this year.
The chairman, Andrew Vassiliadis, posted a video on social media Thursday morning announcing the Loyal, after four years of playing, couldn’t find a viable way forward for the club’s growth and continued existence, especially without a permanent stadium to play in.
They currently play at USD stadium.
It’s an unfortunate and unlucky development for fans and a brutal kick in the shins for the players and staff who earned their livelihood with the club.
The Loyal filled a couple holes in San Diego’s sports landscape.
They provided soccer fans—a large, vocal contingent of consumers—an opportunity to cheer for a futbol team of their own.
They also soothed the wounds of those who felt burned by the Spanos family after their decision to move the Chargers—the county’s original football team—to Los Angeles, provided they grew to used to the idea that in their football game the Loyal actually played with their feet.
The team’s first season started just weeks before the pandemic kept people at home in efforts to avoid the transmission of COVID-19. Since then, as businesses and people resumed their routines, the Loyal appeared to be finding moderate success, so much so that a professional women’s soccer team was established here as well as a landing pad for an MLS team in 2025. But whatever financial success the Loyal had was an illusion or short lived.
It was a good run. Too bad it was a short one.