The San Diego Chargers finished in San Diego
As every football fan now knows, the San Diego Chargers, who’ve been playing their home games in that city at Qualcomm Stadium since 1961, will return to Los Angeles for the 2017 season, interestingly enough, just 1 year after LA Rams had moved back themselves from St. Louis.
The Chargers will now play their home games at the StubHub Center until the opening of the Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park in 2020.
Until last Thursday, the team still practiced at “Chargers Park”. Until the end of June, most of the team’s business will continue at the Murphy Canyon Complex.
The news of the team’s departure has, of course, saddened, as well as angered, many fans, especially on social media. Some fans appeared to say goodbye to their favorite players, with the media available at the time to record the whole thing.
Philip Rivers, the quarterback, practiced with his team in San Diego for the last time before heading to Los Angeles. Needless to say, he was a bit sad for the departure.
Rivers said, “Sad is a little too strong.” “…But emotional.”
Such an event, the San Diego Chargers team moving out of the city that has been their home for the past 56 years, out of a community that has welcomed them and given them so much love, is almost analogous to when a teenager becomes a young adult and has to leave his parents’ home. Leaving behind the familiarity and love that the young adult has gotten all of his/her life so far and embarking on an uncertain and scary road ahead. The Chargers too embark on a long and uncertain road ahead to Los Angeles with new custom football uniforms and all.
The 13 banners that commemorate the Chargers’ AFL championship in 1963, its AFC title in 1994 and other achievements the team has gotten are still found on the top of the edifice above the balcony facing the practice fields of Chargers Park and, of course, will still remain there for a long time.
Of course, despite this departure, not all of the team’s players will feel the bitter sweetness of the situation. “I didn’t really get attached,” defensive tackle Brandon Mebane said. “I wasn’t here for a long period of time.”
And that’s the case for various other players. 18 of the 90 players at minicamp only spent more than 2 seasons as San Diego Chargers and just 5 current Chargers arrived before 2012.
Only Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates have been in San Diego for more than 7 years.
Everyone else is also ready or getting ready to leave. The second floor at Chargers Park is half empty, the marketing and community relations already left since the beginning of May, the small building where the digital media department was located might already be dismantled and accounting and public relations will start leaving soon.
The team had more than 100 employees, without counting players and coaches, and a little more than half are already moving away.
A member of The Chargers’ PR staff however, Scott Yoffe, is staying in San Diego since the city is home to his family now.
What’s the next thing the team will do after they move to Los Angeles? The start of training camp at Orange Coast College and then the season opener and finally, the LA Chargers’ first game at the StubHub Center.
80 or so miles north of San Diego, the future home of the LA Chargers is located, Susan Street in Costa Mesa. Still under construction, but won’t be too long until the team can call this place “home”.