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MLS Expansion Team Officially Named LA Football Club

LOS ANGELES (AP/ —  Major League Soccer's expansion franchise in Los Angeles finally has an official name: the Los Angeles Football Club, or LAFC.

That has been the informal name of the franchise since its ownership group was awarded a team nearly a year ago. The club finally made it official Tuesday on Twitter, saying its "supporters have spoken."

"The name that we chose is true to Los Angeles, authentic to world football and speaks to our global ambitions," said Henry Nguyen, the club's owner and managing partner.

LAFC will begin MLS play in 2018. The well-funded club intends to carve a niche in Los Angeles' crowded sportsscene while sparking an immediate rivalry with the LA Galaxy, who won their record fifth MLS Cup title last season.

The new club still hasn't chosen its official colors, although its initial publicity materials have been red and black. LAFC is launching a social media campaign to allow its fans to play a role in the selection, which should happen in the next few months.


Although the franchise's debut has been pushed back one year since its inception, the LAFC ownership group has the cash and the ambition to make a splash in Los Angeles.

LAFC is owned by Malaysian billionaire Vincent Tan, American venture capitalist Nguyen and a celebrity-studded list of investors including Magic Johnson, Peter Guber, Tony Robbins, Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra.

The group already has revealed plans for a 22,000-seat, soccer-specific, privately funded stadium on the site of the Los Angeles Sports Arena, which will be demolished.

MLS has just one team in North America's second-largest market this year after Chivas USA ceased operations following the 2014 season.

Even with 2 1/2 years to go before its debut, LAFC is positioning itself as the main rival to the Galaxy. The original MLS club is the only five-time champion in league history, and its list of former or current players includes David Beckham, Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, Steven Gerrard and Giovani Dos Santos.

The free-spending Galaxy, whose stadium is south of downtown Los Angeles in suburban Carson, formally removed "Los Angeles" from their official name a few years ago, shortening it to the city's familiar initials.

But LAFC intends to market itself to millennial fans in soccer-loving Los Angeles, particularly in its up-and-coming downtown core, an increasingly popular spot for young professionals and hip urbanites.

The club's new stadium will be downtown in Exposition Park, next door to the University of Southern California and the venerable Coliseum, which has hosted two Olympics and the first Super Bowl.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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