Chucky Lozano joins San Diego as club's first DP

Mexican winger Hirving “Chucky” Lozano has been announced as the first Designated Player (DP) signing for MLS expansion side San Diego FC, the club confirmed on Thursday.

Currently with PSV Eindhoven, Lozano will continue playing with the Eredivisie team through 2024 before officially becoming a San Diego FC player in January of 2025.

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ESPN reported earlier this week that Lozano will have a four-year contract and a proposed salary between the $7 to $9 million range. With the Mexico international as the team’s first high-profile signing, San Diego FC and staff continue preparations for their debut MLS season in 2025.

“It’s an honor to join San Diego FC as the club’s first Designated Player,” Lozano said in a news release.

“It’s exciting to be part of history as we build a club that will compete for championships in MLS. In every country I have played, I always strive to leave a mark, and making an impact for San Diego and in MLS is very important to me.

“The club’s project and plans for San Diego’s Right to Dream Academy resonated deeply with the career path I’ve had in this sport. I identified with the project immediately and I am confident we will be able to help a lot of youth players from both sides of the border. I am beyond excited and look forward to finishing the year strong with PSV Eindhoven and joining San Diego FC at the start of 2025.”

Lozano, who will have two option years with San Diego FC after the end of the 2028 season, will be introduced to fans and media next Thursday.

“Signing a player of the international stature of ‘Chucky’ Lozano is the biggest possible endorsement of our project in San Diego,” said San Diego FC owner and Egyptian billionaire Sir Mohamed Mansour.

“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 County and around the world.”

A product of Pachuca’s famed academy, the 28-year-old has made a name for himself abroad through stints with Serie A’s Napoli and the Eredivisie’s PSV Eindhoven, where he has played twice. During his time in Europe, he’s collected a Serie A trophy and two Eredivisie titles.

Since his Mexican national team debut in 2016, Lozano has earned 70 caps and secured 18 goals along the way, but was recently left out of the 2024 Copa America roster — along with a handful of other high-profile veteran players.

At San Diego FC, Lozano is just the fourth player to be signed after goalkeeper Duran Ferree, Jeppe Tverskov, and Marcus Ingvartsen. Tverskov and Ingvartsen play for San Diego FC sister club FC Nordsjælland and are expected to arrive in the 2025 preseason camp with Lozano. Ferree, a U.S. youth international that was San Diego FC’s first-ever signing, is on loan with the USL Championship’s Orange County SC.

The MLS club has yet to announce a head coach or sporting director, and was recently linked with AS Monaco technical director Carlos Aviña Ibarrola before talks fell through.

Along with Mansour, San Diego FC is owned by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation (the first Native American tribe to be part of an ownership group of a professional soccer team in the U.S.), San Diego Padres infielder Manny Machado, Zephyr Partners’ Brad Termini, and the Right to Dream’s Tom Vernon and Dan Dickinson.

Run by Mansour’s London-based Man Capital firm, the Right to Dream is an academy system that has locations in Ghana, Egypt, Denmark, and soon, San Diego. Currently being built alongside San Diego FC’s training facilities, the latest Right to Dream academy near the U.S.-Mexico border is set to attract players from both countries.

Vernon told ESPN in 2023 that the San Diego academy will be the “best in class facility in the United States,” with plans to have the highest operating cost in MLS for an academy system.

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