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Chucky Lozano: San Diego FC is "a golden opportunity"

Chucky Lozano - San Diego FC scarf

For all of Hirving "Chucky" Lozano's career highlights and achievements, signing with San Diego FC ahead of their inaugural MLS season hits differently for the superstar Mexican international.

The 28-year-old, after a nearly decade-long, trophy-filled stint in Europe, will join the league's 30th club as their first-ever Designated Player when they begin play in 2025. He arrives on a reported $12 million transfer from Eredivisie powerhouse PSV Eindhoven.

"From the moment I had my first talk with San Diego and they showed me the project, the entire infrastructure, that moment was a shock for me," Lozano said in Spanish during an introductory interview with the club.

"It's a project that I've experienced, I've gone through before, but [this one] is 10 times better."

San Diego's allure

What exactly makes San Diego FC unlike anything Lozano has ever seen before since breaking out with boyhood club CF Pachuca 10 years ago, with additional stops at PSV and Italian Serie A powerhouse SSC Napoli?

"Honestly, the project feels like my life, so I identify a lot with it," Lozano said, hinting that his ambitions go way beyond the playing field. "I think it's a great project. I think we can give many young players the chance to grow and have a better life so close to Mexico. Personally, my goal is always to leave a mark in Mexico."

Part of this includes San Diego's involvement with The Right to Dream Academy. Featuring a 125,000-square-foot campus, the academy will accommodate male students between the ages of 12-18, spanning grades six through 12.

"They showed me the [Right to Dream] project and explained it to me," Lozano said. "It's a project that promotes solidarity with society and tries to make a change for young people. That's what I want to do"

A proven champion

Fortunately for San Diego, Lozano also knows how to win trophies. A Liga MX Clausura champion and Concacaf Champions Cup (née Champions League) winner with Pachuca, Chucky also lifted two league titles with PSV, in addition to capturing Serie A and Coppa Italia crowns at Napoli.

All this while scoring 119 goals over 416 professional matches, not to mention his 18g/12a in 70 games for Mexico – including two FIFA World Cups (2018, 2022).

"I think this is a great opportunity to help a club, help their project," Lozano said. "I'm full of energy and full of good vibes to try to make history. That's what I want. I've left my mark at every club I've played at, and to come to San Diego and leave my mark here is very important."

Mexicans in MLS

That responsibility is even more pronounced given Lozano's status in his homeland. Legendary Mexicans such as Hugo Sánchez (FC Dallas), Cuauhtémoc Blanco (Chicago Fire FC), Javier "Chicharito" Hernández (LA Galaxy) and Carlos Vela (LAFC) have all done their part to raise the league's profile. Currently, Houston Dynamo FC midfielder Héctor Herrera and Sporting Kansas City striker Alan Pulido hold the mantle for their country in MLS.

"They're all very important players at a global level and for Mexico," Chucky said. "My responsibility will always be to help, improve and leave that mark. I want to make history here, as many Mexicans have done."

Lozano additionally revealed he'd stayed in touch with Herrera and Chicharito during his time in Europe, often speaking about the league and its growth. More recently, former Napoli teammate Lorenzo Insigne – currently at Toronto FC – reached out to him upon hearing of the rumors of his impending MLS arrival.

"All those comments stayed in my head," Chucky said of the MLS-related conversations over the years.

Championship dreams

Lozano will soon have his chance to further his legacy, one that hopefully includes plenty of memorable moments and, most importantly, trophies.

"I don't like to speak too much, but I have my goals that I know I can achieve," he answered when asked about any personal objectives.

Collectively, however, Chucky is aiming as high as possible heading into his MLS debut next year.

"God willing, be a champion with San Diego," Lozano said. "That's an important dream. Leave a great mark here in San Diego with this team.

"... This is a golden opportunity for me."