THE FOUNDERS OF 1904 FC
Professional Footballer, Shanghai Shenhua
Demba Ba’s success has not been without challenge. Challenge from the streets to the pitch. Whether it has been injury or a team’s change of plans, Ba has persevered through each obstacle. Playing for Chelsea FC back in 2013, made him the first ever Senegalese player to join the club. In that next year, he managed to score an 87th minute goal in the Champions League that sent Chelsea to the Semi-finals. Ba currently plays as striker for the Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua. It is so clear that Ba’s success can be attributed solely to his deep devotion to the game itself, since day one. Ba has played for top teams such as 1899 Hoffenheim, West Ham United, Newcastle United, Chelsea, Besiktas and Shanghai Shenhua. He has described the 1904 in San Diego as a “project of their life.” A project they’ve been dreaming up for years.
“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.”
Professional Footballer, Chelsea FC
Eden Hazard has lit up the English Premier League playing for Chelsea FC and the Belgium national team. He was an astonishing talent even when he was a kid, playing with no shoes, no socks, just natural ability and a love for football — according to his childhood coach. Now, he spends most of his playing time as an attacking midfielder and a winger. His creativity, speed, passing and technical abilities are some of his most defining qualities. 1904 will give kids a chance to grow into the players they’ve always dreamed of, just as Hazard had.
Hazard is often ranked by coaches, colleagues, and commentators as one of the best players in the world. His ever-growing list of individual honors includes Premier League Player of the Year, Ligue 1 Player of the Year, FWA Footballer of the Year, PFA Players’ Player of the Year, and many more.
“We see great things for this club and for soccer in San Diego. It’s a tremendous honor be a part of this club and to give San Diego what it deserves – professional football.”
Professional Footballer, Cystal Palace
Yohan Cabaye is a French international currently playing for Premier League club Crystal Palace. His talent and rich experience will light the way in making t1904 a truly world class team. San Diego is home to one of the country’s best youth soccer programs, but very few local players go on to play professional soccer and even fewer reach their dreams of playing international soccer. Yohan and the others plan to change that by developing players. To give back what they’ve received.
Cabaye has also played for high-profile clubs such as Lille, Newcastle United and Paris Saint Germain. His teams have won the French Ligue 1 title (2010-11, 2013-14, 2014-15), French Cup (2010-11, 2013-14, 2014-15) and French League Cup (2013-14, 2014-15).
Professional Footballer, Fenerbahce
Moussa Sow is so good at overhead kicks that Fenerbahce now sells upside down versions of his shirt. Born in France, he is now a professional footballer for Al Alhi and the Senegal national team. Moussa’s career has seen him play for Rennes, Sedan, Fenerbahce, and Al Alhi, winning the French Ligue 1 in 2010-11, the French Cup in 2010-11 and the Super Lig in 2013-14. His familiar pose and acrobatic efforts are just a visual representation of the zeal Sow possesses for the game, for its journey to San Diego and the joy it will bring to the community.
While with Fenerbache, Moussa’s team won the Turkish Cup in 2011-12, 2013-14, and the Turkish Super Cup in 2013-14. Sow was the French Ligue 1 Top Goalscorer in 2010-2011.
Alexandre has spent years coaching young players, including some of the best-rated French players. Throughout these years, he has specialized in understanding the human cognitive and motor functions to better analyze and train each coach and player. With this deep understanding, he can connect with the players in a way that works, naturally. In 2003, Alexandre had the vision to develop 16-year-old Demba Ba to become a professional footballer and together they created a goal; to reach Chelsea FC before Ba’s 26th birthday.
Without Alexandre, the founders may not have discovered the magic that is the city of San Diego. He led the charge, rallying them together to consider San Diego and without much persuasion needed, they were set on it.
Vagno’s story began in Paris, where he was born. Though his family moved to Vietnam when he was just 13, he made his way back to France to play in the French Ligue 1 Futsal in Nantes and ultimately follow his dream each day. Vagno truly lives out the “for if you love football, you are a player” anthem in his daily life. He spends his time sharing inspiring stories from the game to those that need to hear it. Vagno will bring this vision to San Diego through 1904. His experience and love for the game paired with his unmatched tenacity for making something bigger than himself will bring a newfound happiness to the city of San Diego.
San Diego State University Alum, Watkins knows and loves this city like the true local that he is. His love for sports runs deep, too. He played rugby while attending San Diego State University and afterward, helped found the U.S.A. Rugby Football Union, serving six years as its president. Watkins now chairs the U.S. Rugby Foundation. Watkins enjoys sports and the culture of each across the board. He played a pivotal role in securing the league’s approval of the expansion club and is truly excited for what’s to come.