From music to S.D. Loyal soccer chairman, Point Loma’s Andrew Vassiliadis has had a unique career journey
Andrew Vassiliadis says he wants nothing more than to bring joy to soccer fans, and as chairman of the professional San Diego Loyal Soccer Club, he can do just that.
With a lengthy past in the music and entertainment industry and a lifelong love of soccer, Vassiliadis has a foot in two worlds and has spent the past several years blending them.
The Point Loma resident says he grew up with a soccer ball at his feet, but his path to becoming chairman of the Loyal was far from typical. Vassiliadis’ father was a Greek immigrant who came to the United States to further his education, leaving behind the prospect of playing professional soccer. A love for the sport was deeply engrained in the family, however, and Vassiliadis was exposed to it at a young age.
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After attending Francis Parker School in San Diego, Vassiliadis went to college at Cal State Long Beach, where he drifted away from sports and began pursuing music. In the late 1990s, he got behind a DJ table and his career escalated from there.
Shows in downtown San Diego and partnership with local companies grew into a business, and Vassiliadis and a friend started Another Way of Life, a music collective that presented events across the world.
Whistler, British Columbia; Lake Tahoe; Cancun and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and beyond became hot spots for Another Way of Life’s music events. But over time, the late hours and busy nightlife presented a drawback for Vassiliadis: an abundance of spare time during the day.
Around that time, Vassiliadis was living with a friend who was teaching and coaching sports at The Bishop’s School in La Jolla.
“He would come home every day glowing and just loving the experience,” Vassiliadis said.
With a pull toward something fulfilling and ample time for activities outside of music, it seemed natural to get back into sports. Vassiliadis expressed his interest in coaching and, just like that, a full-circle moment was created.
As Vassiliadis familiarized himself with soccer again, he noted that San Diego still lacked the game in a professional sense. He was determined to change that.
“What I know about the city I grew up in is that we are very passionate about soccer,” Vassiliadis said. “I saw an opportunity to bring soccer to San Diego.”
“There are enough corners of the city who don’t know who I am and it is my job to get the word out there so they understand my values and the values I set forth for the club.”
— Andrew Vassiliadis
Vassiliadis’ dream came true in summer 2019 when he stumbled across an article about two prominent soccer figures who had rights to a USL (United Soccer League) Championship franchise in San Diego. Landon Donovan, a star professional player, and Warren Smith were looking for local investors.
Vassiliadis met with Smith and by October 2019, an agreement was in writing, making Vassiliadis the youngest principal owner in the league at age 36.
By 2020, the San Diego Loyal had cleats on the ground with Vassiliadis as chairman. The team plays its home games at Torero Stadium on the campus of the University of San Diego.
Now fully immersed in the sports arena, Vassiliadis says he’s been determined to learn from those who know best.
“I apply myself where I can, but ... I tried not to pretend that I knew everything,” Vassiliadis said.
What similarities do soccer and music have? For Vassiliadis, it’s as simple as captivating the community and sparking a sense of togetherness.
“I was working with a mentor of mine who pointed out to me that I’m in entertainment and what I’ve always loved to do is bring joy to people, whether it’s with music or sports,” he said.
Of course, winning is always a goal for Vassiliadis and the players, but providing an experience is a close second. Concerts at halftime and local artists roaming the stadium during games have been ways for Vassiliadis’ previous career to shine through into his current role.
“It is important to me that this club reflects and belongs to the city and they feel represented,” Vassiliadis said.
Before his position with the Loyal, Vassiliadis was no stranger to community engagement. His family created an endowment at UC San Diego for cancer research and has supported other local pillars such as Jacobs Medical Center, the San Diego Zoo and the KPBS station at San Diego State University.
As Vassiliadis prepares to build his “forever home” in Point Loma, his biggest goal is ensuring the community knows who he is and what he is doing.
“The city needs to get to know who Andrew Vassiliadis is and who my family is and what we mean to the community,” he said. “There are enough corners of the city who don’t know who I am and it is my job to get the word out there so they understand my values and the values I set forth for the club.”
For San Diego Loyal tickets and information, visit sdloyal.com.
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