As the Executive Vice President for Soccer Operations of USL San Diego, Landon Donovan is in charge of building the franchise’s future on-field product.
But that responsibility isn’t stopping him from getting involved at the grassroots level as well.
Donovan recently visited Chicano Park to play with Bridge Barkada, a local street soccer group that brings members of the community together by offering a free place to play twice a week.
“It’s pretty incredible what Bridge Barkada have done here,” said Donovan. “The guys a few months ago just came up with this idea where they wanted to start something fun and special for this city that was free and that was enjoyable and you’re seeing it bring the city together. You’re seeing people from all parts of San Diego coming here to enjoy this game that we love.”
The United States Men’s National Team legend looked right at home dribbling up and down a pair of side-by-side basketball courts and sizing up shots on a pair of miniature goals.
But more important than getting involved in the action was meeting with locals and continuing to grow the fan base of the soon-to-be Championship franchise, which has held town halls in recent weeks to learn more about what the community expects from them.
Landon Donovan poses for a photo with members of Bridge Barkada after dropping in a street soccer pickup game.
Each experience has helped Donovan and the USL San Diego team continue to gain a better sense of the local soccer community.
“I think we’re understanding pretty clearly how popular street soccer and soccer like this is in San Diego,” said Donovan. “San Diego is arguably the biggest soccer market in this country and if we keep providing opportunities like this for people to come out and play, they’ll do it.”