Sockers look toward new arena
By Hector Trujillo
An eventful 2021 continues for the 15-time champion San Diego Sockers as the team starts on a new adventure that will see them relocate to North County from their current location at Pechanga Arena starting in 2023.
The club, which broke ground at the new location in Oceanside at the end of May, will be the main attraction in a facility that will host a wide variety of other events including concerts at the new state-of-the-art 6,000-seat arena.
“It’s a great move for the long term future of the Sockers,” said team captain Kraig Chiles. “Oceanside will be our forever home.
After the franchise was discontinued on Dec. 30, 2004, the Sockers came back in 2009 under the ownership of David Pike, Carl Savoia and Phil Salvagio. This was the second attempt to revive the Sockers name. The club has enjoyed a significant amount of success since it began play, having won both the PASL-Pro championship and U.S. Open Cup of Arena Soccer in its first four seasons back as a team. In January 2019, former USMNT player Landon Donovan joined the Sockers, playing for one season after a stint in Liga MX for Club Leon, which was one of the club’s biggest signings since that of Mexican soccer legend Hugo Sanchez in 1979.
The Sockers played their first season after the 2009 comeback at the 3,500-seat Del Mar Arena located on the Del Mar Fairgrounds before moving to the Pechanga Arena San Diego in 2012.
The new arena will be located in Oceanside’s El Corazon Park near the SoCal Sports Complex, which is home to 20 soccer fields and plays host to numerous youth soccer events.
“We had fans from Oceanside traveling to (Pechanga Arena) and we hope to have fans from central (San Diego) making the trip north,” Chiles said.
Chiles, a San Diego native and graduate of Poway High School and San Diego State University, has been with the Sockers since 2009.
The arena in Oceanside is being built completely with private funds and no taxpayer dollars, according to the Sockers.
The upcoming 2021 season is expected to start sometime toward the end of the year and the team will try to capture its 16th title.