Jun 6, 2024 - Sports

San Diego FC signs Mexico's Hirving 'Chucky' Lozano as first designated player

A soccer player leans on a rooftop railing with his arms stretched out with the city skyline and San Diego Bay behind him.

Hirving "Chucky" Lozano is San Diego FC's first marquee player. Photo: San Diego FC

San Diego FC signed Mexican soccer star Hirving "Chucky" Lozano as its first designated player, which means his pay isn't bound by the league's salary cap. (Axios)

Why it matters: As the team's first major signing, Lozano will be the face of the club and one of the highest paid players when SDFC starts MLS play in 2025.

Zoom in: Lozano agreed to a four-year contract, which starts Jan. 1, 2025, and runs through the end of the 2028 MLS season, with two option years, the club announced Thursday.

  • He will finish the 2024 season with his current club, PSV Eindhoven, in the Netherlands before transferring.
  • He joins San Diego's growing roster that includes local goalkeeper Duran Ferree and Danish veterans Jeppe Tverskov and Marcus Ingvartsen.

Between the lines: In the MLS, the "designated player" rule allows clubs to sign up to three players whose total compensation and acquisition costs exceed the maximum salary ($683,750).

  • Only the $683k counts towards a team's salary cap.
  • San Diego was expected to pay a transfer fee of around $12 million to the Dutch club, per The Athletic.

What they're saying: "Signing a player of the international stature of 'Chucky' Lozano is the biggest possible endorsement of our project in San Diego," SDFC owner and chairman Sir Mohamed Mansour said in a statement.

  • "His journey from Pachuca, Mexico, to the world stage resonates with how Right to Dream provides opportunities for talent everywhere, and we hope that story can inspire and motivate the next generation of talent in San Diego and around the world," Mansour said.
  • Lozano said he identified with the project immediately and is confident "we will be able to help a lot of youth players from both sides of the border."

By the numbers: The Mexico City native has played for top international clubs in Europe and Mexico, winning titles at each stop.

  • Lozano has earned 70 caps for the Mexican National Team, scored 18 goals and recorded 12 assists for El Tricolor.
  • He made seven appearances with one goal and one assist during the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups.

The intrigue: San Diego fans will join the chorus chanting "Chucky" at games in reference to the horror movie series doll.

  • Lozano earned the nickname as a 10-year-old kid with spiky hair who would hide in closets or under his teammates' beds and scare them.

What's next: SDFC will officially introduce Lozano in a news conference June 13 at Snapdragon Stadium.

  • That will be followed by a fan celebration at the Rady Shell downtown waterfront venue at 7pm.
Chucky Lozano with a Mexican flag draped over his shoulders.
Mexican National Team star Chucky Lozano joins SDFC. Photo: San Diego FC

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios San Diego.

More San Diego stories