|Photo: San Diego NASL|
Chelsea star Eden Hazard and former teammate Demba Ba have joined forces to invest in a new club in San Diego.
The pair will invest along with Crystal Palace midfielder Yohan Cabaye and Al-Ahli striker Moussa Sow and other local business executives.
The franchise, yet to be named, will compete in the North American Soccer League (NASL), the second tier in the United States, from 2018.
The expansion team are seeking a location in North County to build a privately financed complex that will include a stadium and practice facilities.
The club will play their home matches at the University of San Diego's Torero Stadium until their own 10,000-seat stadium is built.
Belgian forward Hazard said in a statement:
San Diego is a beautiful place and the love and passion the people have for soccer made this an easy choice for us.
My friends and I are honored to turn this dream into a reality and we can't wait to get started and win some games.
Ba, who plays for Shanghai Shenhua in the Chinese Super League, added:
Success is our goal - with the club, with the community, with everything that we do.
One of our goals is to sign players who have a strong passion for the game, who are competitive and love to win.
All my life as a football player, I lived with competition and competition is going to be good for us and for San Diego.
I look forward to competing against our fellow California clubs and the rest of the NASL, as well as MLS clubs in the US Open Cup. It is going to be up to us to be the best.
Another former Chelsea player Didier Drogba recently became football's first player-owner when he joined Phoenix Rising, who play in the rival second tier United Soccer League.