MLS’s new San Diego franchise gets to work immediately with EPP targeting youth talent

May 22 – The acquisition of the new San Diego franchise in the MLS by an ownership group led by Mohamed Mansour has already been followed up with a statement of business intent with a deal announced with Elite Performance Partners (EPP) – a high-performance business that supports teams in elite sport.

Mansour is the founder and chairman of the London-based investment management firm Man Capital, which owns Right to Dream (RTD), a group of youth academies, clubs and partners. The RTD development model will be at the centre of the San Diego club philosophy and business rationale, providing a platform for elite player development and ultimately player sales.

It is that area that the new franchise has ambition to lock down immediately. If the delivery matches the talk it will start another free-for-all in an already busy youth football market with a high number of outstanding youth teams stretching from the Mexican border towards the southern edge of Los Angeles.

“After ten years of on-going transatlantic collaboration with elite sport and teams in the US market, we’re excited to be in a position to establish our permanent presence in this key market”, said Dave Slemen, EPP’s Founding Partner. “It’s an important step for us as a company to create more opportunities for individuals and organisations to unlock their potential.”

It is an interesting and bold statement from a business that has no presence in the local market that already has two MLS teams with academy set-ups, Liverpool and Barcelona academies and bunch of other high performing and sizeable youth clubs.

They already have a lock on the talent and are unlikely to roll over for what to them will be seen as another big talking assault on their market. It isn’t the first.

“EPP is excited to be part of the next phase of Right to Dream’s journey, as well as their partnership with the Sycuan Tribe,” said Anna Edwards, Managing Partner at EPP. “We are committed to Right to Dream’s underlying purpose of challenging the definition of excellence and creating opportunities for young people. We have no doubt that the San Diego MLS club will further help bring Right to Dream’s vision to reality.”

Perhaps it will, but treating the US as some kind of third-world football market just waiting to be gobbled up old fashioned European football imperialism will only end in tears.

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