Jul 26, 2023 - Sports

Snapdragon Stadium is a magnet for soccer in San Diego

Professional soccer players line up in starting positions on a field at a stadium filled with fans at dusk.

Snapdragon Stadium hosted an international friendly between Wrexham A.F.C and Manchester United, which fielded a team of mostly young players. Photo: Kate Murphy/Axios

Wrexham A.F.C. beat Manchester United in a friendly match at San Diego State University's Snapdragon Stadium Tuesday night, but the sold-out game was also a big win for the city.

Why it matters: Hosting the iconic English Premier League club is reflective of San Diego's status as a soccer city that's on the rise.

  • Of note: San Diego was one of the top 10 U.S. cities for viewership of the 2022-23 Premier League season that ended in May, Soccer Insider reported.

Between the lines: Snapdragon is fundamental to the sport's local growth, as the home field for the San Diego Wave and the city's future Major League Soccer team.

  • The venue, which saw record-breaking attendance for women's soccer last fall, also played a key role in securing the Man U-Wrexham game.

What they're saying: "This is why we built the stadium," SDSU athletic director JD Wicker told Axios.

  • Wicker met with MLS staff to understand how to get the stadium "soccer-ready" at professional and international levels when it opened, he said.
  • The architects behind MLS stadiums in Los Angeles and Austin designed Snapdragon.

Zoom out: It's because of this stadium that San Diego has landed other top-tier matches, including the U.S. Men's National Team in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July and the 2023 NWSL championship happening this fall.

Flashback: Snapdragon was also an attractive setting for Man U's preseason U.S. tour, given the club's global branding partnership with San Diego-based Qualcomm.

  • The stadium is named for Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors that power smartphones.
  • Qualcomm sponsored the tour and cleared hurdles to cement the deal, including rescheduling an overlapping concert and easing concerns about the stadium's capacity.

What's next: Snapdragon will host another international friendly between San Diego Loyal SC and Borussia Dortmund Thursday night. Tickets are available starting at $50.

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