Why San Diego’s Soccer Culture is Rooted Indoors

Pro sports in San Diego has a rich and arduous history. Despite its size and unparalleled weather, the southern California oasis has had a hard time keeping its teams

Whether it be the recent move by the NFL’s Chargers to Los Angeles, or the unsuccessful stints in San Diego by the NBA’s Clippers and Rockets, few teams are able to establish long-term staying power in the community. Even in the soccer world, the city has had numerous teams come and go, including the San Diego Spirit, San Diego Flash, and more. 

However, there is one that has stood the test of time – the San Diego Sockers. 

For four decades, the San Diego Sockers have been one of the region’s most consistent pro sports brands. Founded in 1974 as the Baltimore Comets, the team moved west after a couple unsuccessful years and found success in San Diego starting in 1978. 

Photo credit: Greg Siller

Since then, the team has won trophies in both indoor and outdoor pro leagues, with their recent success coming as one of the most prolific clubs in the Major Arena Soccer League. Today, even despite folding twice in the 1990’s and late 2000’s, the team is known as the greatest indoor soccer dynasty of all time, boasting an impressive 15 professional indoor championships in its history.

Deep End Supporters

Behind all of the club’s success is a fan culture that has been infectious since the beginning. 

Photo credit: Greg Siller

Just look at old video footage and you’ll see that the San Diego Sockers crowds were some of the most raucous in the game. 

In many ways, Sockers games were more than a soccer match, they were an event. Consistently drawing five-figure crowds and selling out arenas during their peak, the team was one of the hottest commodities in Southern California. Their success was also a big reason why investors and fans were so bullish about the future of the sport in the U.S. decades ago.

Back then, the supporters group was named the “7th Man,” a reference to the extra boost the fans gave the six players who were on the pitch during a game. And sometimes, it was even more than a boost. Before modern-day security measures were put in place, 7th Man supporters were known to storm the field after big victories.

Today, the most loyal fans are known by a new moniker, the Deep End Supporters Group. The group was founded in 2015 when San Diegan Daryl Biggs decided the community needed a formal way to support local soccer. 

As Biggs shared with Soccer Nation, he started the group to “foster a culture that promotes the younger generation becoming ‘active fans’ and really understanding the difference from being a passive fan.”

Photo credit: Greg Siller

They may not be jumping onto the field like their earlier counterparts, but their passion for the team is no different. During home games at the Sports Arena located in the Midway District of San Diego, you can find the Deep End Supporters Group waving flags, chanting, and singing songs behind the goal.

Building on the Past

Today, the future of soccer in San Diego is brighter than ever. Thanks in large part to the foundation that the San Diego Sockers and its fanbase built over the past four decades, investors are eager to pump money into the region. 

The USL Championship side San Diego Loyal is in its second year and already has a slew of celebrity investors and dedicated fans. The WPSL is not-so-secretly on the verge of approving the city as the next WPSL expansion team. And 1904 FC, which was founded by soccer superstars Demba Ba and Eden Hazard and competes in the National Independent Soccer Association, continues to grow its base of supporters through a unique brand of marketing.

So next time you’re in San Diego to soak up the sun, take time to visit a couple of the city’s soccer teams, starting with the San Diego Sockers and its Deep End Supporters Group.