At Snapdragon Stadium this week, San Diego FC players Marcus Ingvartsen and Jeppe Tverskov began to fire off questions about … baseball.

The first two international signings for the blossoming Major League Soccer club, locked down in March, wanted to soak up details about the Padres, the biggest sports franchise in their new city.

How many games do they play?

How many players are on the team?

One of the most important nuggets the Danish players collected was the position played by third baseman Manny Machado, an investor in the club.

“When you’re from one city, you wish the best for everyone,” said Tverskov, a 30-year-old defensive midfielder. “I guess that’s why he’s also involved here. That’s why we want to go to a game and support them. It’s all in for one city, right?”

The teammates a season ago at FC Nordsjaelland will let the learning begin in earnest on Sunday, when the Padres play the Diamondbacks at Petco Park.

There’s much to process as students in San Diego 101.

Start with surfing.

“Yes, 100 percent yes,” Tverskov said.

There’s California burritos, fish tacos and the concept of June Gloom. There’s the ocean and freeway-driving strategies. Even grocery stores have become a bit of a fascination.

“We went to the grocery store the first night because we were jet-lagged,” Tverskov said. “Everything’s bigger. Everything comes in big XL packages compared to what we’re used to.”

There’s no doubt Tverskov and Ingvartsen are resilient and adaptable. The proof: Each traveled across the globe with 2-year-old children to reach San Diego.

“It’s a long flight and a lot of time zones for the little ones,” Tverskov said.

There’s also a long runway to launch an MLS team.

It was announced in May of 2023 that San Diego would become an expansion franchise co-owned by Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Mansour and the Sycuan tribe.

Then came the crest and colors, the first shovelfuls for a $150 million training facility and the signing of local teenage goalkeeper Duran Ferree. The team, only four players deep after adding Mexican star Hirving “Chucky” Lozano this week, will begin play their first game at Snapdragon Stadium in February.

The Danes are teammates, country-mates and two of the earliest cogs in a soccer painting awaiting plenty of brush strokes.

“It feels like you’re already part of history,” Tverskov said. “This is a new beginning. As an athlete, that’s special.”

Why MLS? Why San Diego?

“It’s a league that’s growing a lot,” said Ingvartsen, 28, a forward with experience in the Danish Superliga, Belgian Pro League and German Bundesliga who signed a three-year deal with a club option through 2029. “It’s starting to get a lot of attention. The quality is getting to a high level. In Europe, you’re getting more information. The media follows it. You can feel the hype around it. It’s more and more appealing to players in Europe.”

A built-in advantage for both is that they’re doing it together.

“We played together on the same club, we have kids the same age, we have a girlfriend and wife who are very close now,” said Tverskov, who dragged a pen across a two-year deal. “It’s a dream for us going together, because it’s a little easier going across the world when you know somebody.”

One of the first shared experiences was seeing Snapdragon Stadium, which came as a bit of a surprise.

“You can tell it has a California vibe,” Tverskov said. “It’s not usual for European stadiums to be that open, but it makes sense with the weather here.”

Different, but impressive.

“It looks amazing,” said Ingvartsen, a goal sniper who is the all-time leading scorer for Denmark’s U21 national team. “Everything is new. It’s built with soccer in mind. Very open and inviting atmosphere. I’m looking forward to seeing at full capacity.”

Along the way, the process of adjusting continues.

Ingvartsen, who owns a coffee shop in his hometown of Copenhagen, already has found solid options in the Little Italy neighborhood that houses the club’s headquarters.

“I like to have something to switch off football every once in a while,” Ingvartsen said of being a business owner. “It’s nice to use the brain on something else also. I enjoy it and it gives me energy.”

Now, the brain will shift to the Padres and the mystery that is Major League Baseball.

How much baseball have they watched?

“Never,” Tverskov said.

His new San Diego FC teammate has a small edge on that front, but only barely.

“Maybe highlights. That’s it,” Ingvartsen said. “I think the rules, we have to check up on a few of them.”

First tip: Watch the guy playing third base. He’s paying part of the bills.


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