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San Diego Sockers bid farewell to Pechanga Arena

It's the end of an era for the San Diego Sockers. They’re getting ready to play their final home games of the regular season at Pechanga Arena before making the move to a brand new arena in Oceanside. KPBS North County reporter Tania Thorne caught up with the team before their final game.

Pechanga Arena will host the San Diego Sockers final home game of the regular season this Saturday, and Game 2 of the West semi-finals on April 8.

But next season, the team is off to the new Frontwave Arena in Oceanside.

"We are excited ... closer to home. We can't wait to get started. To get all the fans in, old fans, and get some new fans. We're all excited, we all talk about it everyday," said Tavoy Morgan, a target for the Sockers.


The team's captain and forward, Kraig Chiles, said it's another chapter for the Sockers.

"I was here when we played at the Del Mar Arena and now the Sports Arena and we're off to Frontwave," he said. "It's going to give us an opportunity down the road to recruit the best players, to play in the best facility in one the best cities in the country, and it's really going to put this organization on a pedestal." 

But the move is bitter sweet, said Sean Bowers, the teams general manager. "We won 12 championships in Pechanga Arena ... coming up to playing the last game of the season here." 

He said the decision to move to Frontwave Arena was an easy one, and one that he’s been looking forward to since he took on the job.

"Because we don't get the dates (for the schedule), number one, at Pechanga Arena, but number two ... the biggest cost in our budget is rent," Bowers said. "Dates are important. Instead of playing on a Monday night or Wednesday night, now we'll have picks of a Friday or Saturday night."


With first dibs on better days, the Sockers hope loyal fans will make the trip to Frontwave Arena.

But they also hope the move means growing their fan base.

"Our clientele is going to change, our fan base is going to change ... I hope it's going to get not only better, but bigger," Bowers said. "We're going to be right next to the SoCal Sports Complex. We're only 25 miles from Orange County, Temecula, Murrieta, so we'll be pulling from different places (by) being in the North County."    

Bowers said the move is an exciting one for the team and the future of major arena soccer.

"It's a whole new level — there's no other arena that is being built for an MASL (Major Arena Soccer League) team other than the San Diego Sockers and that's put us up on a pedestal," Bowers said.

Frontwave Arena is expected to open in September.

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