Toca Football, a nine-year-old, Costa Mesa, Ca.-based company that operates 14 sports centers across the U.S. that are focused on soccer training, has raised $40 million in Series E funding to roughly double the number of facilities that are now up and running in the U.S., as well as to open a site in the U.K. that CEO Yoshi Maruyama describes as a “highly themed game-experiences-based dining and entertainment facility focused on soccer training.”
Maruyama knows a thing or two about building destinations to which people gravitate. Before joining Toca — which was founded by the American former soccer player Eddie Lewis (“toca” refers to the first touch of the ball in soccer) — Maruyama spent six years as the global head of location-based entertainment for Dreamworks. He spent 14 years before that as an SVP with Universal Parks & Resorts.
Indeed, he was brought into Toca in 2019 to transform it from a manufacturing business that sells Major League Soccer teams a ball-tossing machine that Lewis had developed, to the services business it has become.