After more than a few years of trying, Major League Soccer is coming to Sacramento.
California's capital city has been awarded an MLS expansion team with Sacramento Republic FC becoming the league's 29th team and beginning play in MLS in 2022. The club will build a new, $300 million, 20,100-seat soccer stadium in the downtown Railyards District.
“Major League Soccer continues to grow throughout North America and we are so proud to welcome Sacramento as our newest team,” Garber said in a statement. “For many years, soccer fans in Sacramento have passionately supported Republic FC and shown that the club deserves to be competing at the highest level. Thanks to the determined efforts and commitment of new owners Ron Burkle and Matt Alvarez along with the leadership of Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Sacramento will join MLS with a world-class soccer stadium that will transform the sport in California’s capital.”
It's official: Sacramento is part of MLS
Ron Burkle, a technology, retail and hospitality entrepreneur, movie producer and owner of NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, is the club's lead investor. He's joined by Matt Alvarez, an entertainment executive and producer, while longtime Sacramento area business leader and current Sacramento Kings investor Kevin Nagle remains a central member of the investor group, a position he has led since 2014.
“Sacramento’s selection by Major League Soccer for an expansion team is a victory to be celebrated by everyone in our community,” said Burkle. “This has been a true team effort between the amazing soccer fans of the Sacramento region along with Mayor Steinberg and City Council, our partners and corporate leaders. We are proud to be part of the team that Kevin Nagle put together, which is made even stronger by an incredibly committed local ownership group. The relationship between Sacramento and our club already is a special one, and I’m committed to deepening that connection for years to come.”
"A monumental day"
Sacramento Republic joined USL in 2014, when the club won the league title in its first year of existence while turning heads with attendance numbers. Two years ago, the club received commitments for more than 10,000 season tickets for the proposed MLS team.
“Today’s official announcement of the selection of Sacramento to join Major League Soccer makes this a monumental day in our city’s history,” said Steinberg. “I want to thank Commissioner Garber and everyone at MLS for believing in Sacramento, and I’m delighted that the faith shown in our city by Ron Burkle and Matt Alvarez has been rewarded. As an MLS franchise, Republic FC and our new soccer stadium will spur additional economic and cultural growth for Sacramento. This is a breakthrough for our city.”
Watch: Sacramento Republic's long road to Major League Soccer
The Party Rolls On
Following the afternoon's official event, Republic owners, staff, and fans continued the celebration at the Indomitable Block Party on Capital Mall, a fitting exclamation point on a brilliant day.
MLS currently has 24 teams competing in 2019, with Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC joining in 2020 followed by Austin FC in 2021. St. Louis, announced in August as the league's 28th team, will join MLS alongside Sacramento in 2022. The league in April announced plans for MLS to grow to 30 teams.
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