San Diego FC Expansion

San Diego FC to build around "cornerstone" signing Chucky Lozano

Chucky Lozano - San Diego FC - intro presser

MLS expansion side San Diego FC unveiled Hirving "Chucky" Lozano on Thursday as the "cornerstone" of their ambitious project that kicks off during the 2025 season.

The 28-year-old Mexican international, announced last week as San Diego's first-ever Designated Player on a reported $12 million transfer from Eredivisie powerhouse PSV Eindhoven, was introduced by club CEO Tom Penn as a "magnificent deal for MLS, for San Diego FC and a lot of people who worked really hard to make it happen."

"Building something special"

Penn, who helped orchestrate Carlos Vela's arrival at then-expansion side LAFC ahead of their 2018 debut season, believes Chucky can be as transformative a signing for San Diego as his fellow Mexican was for the Black & Gold.

"We wanted a cornerstone of our club, someone who embraces our entire project," Penn said of the CF Pachuca product who also played for Italian Serie A side SSC Napoli. "And when Chucky learned of the Right to Dream [youth academy], of what our ambitions are for North America, for the United States, for Mexico, and when he and [wife] Ana heard the story, they so identified with this.

"And that means a lot, because we're building something special and the most important aspect is our players. And for Chucky to be so excited about Right to Dream and to be the leader and mentor and to help the next generations of talents, that's the other part of this project – in addition to scoring goals, winning matches and lifting trophies."

Lozano is just as excited about his responsibilities, signaling San Diego's emphasis on youth development as a key factor in his decision to move Stateside for 2025.

"Right to Dream is a very important project on a global scale that few clubs have," he said. "Helping youngsters in Mexico and the United States is very important for me because I want to leave a mark in my career."

"... I had different proposals [from other clubs], but this one fulfilled me in every sense because I really identified with every aspect [of the project], and that was the most important thing for me."

MLS's newest star

There's also the equally important matter of winning silverware, something Lozano has done throughout his club career. The 28-year-old has lifted six trophies – including Pachuca's capture of the 2016 Concacaf Champions League.

It was precisely in that tournament where Chucky was first exposed to MLS, facing FC Dallas in the semifinals en route to a 4-3 aggregate victory.

"Honestly, they were very good games. Back then you could see the level was there. The level of play has only increased in the last years," said Lozano, the latest of several recent blockbuster MLS signings.

"Bringing in important players like \[Lionel\] Messi, and now \[Olivier\] Giroud is coming [to LAFC]. All the players that are coming are very important. And that speaks volumes about how the league wants to grow."

Mr. San Diego

But Lozano is stepping into something truly unique at San Diego, where an entire team will be built, practically from scratch, around the two-time World Cup veteran.

"We want him to be able to express his special qualities," said chief soccer officer and assistant sporting director Tyler Heaps. "... We're taking all that into consideration, but certainly with the type of player he is and the work rate that he provides the team, it makes my job a lot easier in terms of finding players who want to play with and can play with him."

This situation is not lost on Lozano, who sees his upcoming MLS adventure as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"There aren't many players who get this opportunity," Chucky said. "To be in this position right now is a privilege. It wasn't very hard to make this decision."