CHULA VISTA, CA (KGTV) — As San Diego Loyal SC gets ready to open the United Soccer League season, you can hear the excitement and enthusiasm while the team practices at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center.
"We've been working very hard for a month and it's going to be an awesome experience for us to finally put that work towards a real game," said Loyal Goalkeeper Austin Guerrero.
After making the USL playoffs last season, the team hopes to build off that success this year.
"I think it's important to set goals before the season, obviously our goal is to win a USL championship," said defender Elijah Martin.
Head Coach Landon Donovan says while he always focuses on the performance of his team first, win or lose, they play the game for one reason.
"Make no mistake about it, we are here to win. We're not a club just content to be here every day, the goal is to win."
The Loyal continue to improve under Donovan, who says the organization as a whole has made great progress since joining the league as an expansion team two years ago.
"We feel that we have gotten better every year. Not just in the results, but in how we do things on a daily basis. From an organizational standpoint, it's the same thing. We were all new two years ago, most of us were new in our rolls, learning and making a lot of mistakes and now we're more of a well-oiled machine."
The Loyal has made a lot of growth as they enter their third season in San Diego. However, it is not just on the field, as their fan base has also grown.
"Every single game I noticed last year it seemed like it just kept getting better, and I can't wait to see what they will bring this season," says Guerrero.
"They are our twelfth man on the field and not only the supporter groups, but the whole stadium in general."
Donovan says the fan base includes a number of supporter groups.
"We have three supporter groups, the Locals, the Chavos, and the Rainbow Loyal fans. Then there are also thousands of season ticket holders who show up each week, and we notice their faces and we appreciate their support."