If you spend any time around Sacramento Republic, their slogan will invariably make more than a few appearances: It takes a Republic.
It’s something those at the club don’t just say often, they take it to heart. They believe in community-outreach and pride themselves on being community-driven. Where Barcelona has Mes que un club, the Sacramento Republic resonates with It takes a Republic.
Still, you might be asking yourself, what exactly does that mean?
“It means everything,” Republic president and COO Ben Gumpert told MLSsoccer.com. “This club, from the launch of the club… it was people of Sacramento coming together, forming something together. The saying is in so much that we do, whether it’s on the pitch but especially off. There’s a lot of pride in our city, our region. It takes everybody working together to achieve some pretty amazing things. Our fans don’t forget that.”
And it's more than just a nice-sounding line.
Once a month, the club go inside Folsom State Prison — the scene of the famous 1968 Johnny Cash live album — and play pick up soccer games. And there's more. They also provided a furnished home for a family who lost theirs in the Camp Fire; they partnered with Street Soccer USA, a nonprofit that promotes the growth and development of a national network of grassroots soccer programs, plus they partnered with World Relief Sacramento to host the World Refugee Day soccer tournament.
The list goes on.
“I’ve been working in non-profits in the region for 18 years, there is no better way to support communities and families and people who need a little bit of help than with the Republic,” said VP of Community Investment Scott Moak. “A bunch of people marching the same way, knowing they’re doing something for the greater good. In Sacramento, we don’t have to try very hard to find people who want to do that.”
Gumpert insists a long-awaited place in Major League Soccer will do nothing to change the club's central values.
“From the name of the club itself, to the crest, colors and everything we do has literally been fan-driven and fan-involved,” Gumpert added. “That’s something that’ll never change.”
The Republic will become Sacramento’s second major professional sports team, alongside the NBA’s Kings. They also have a minor league baseball team, the River Cats.
“Sacramento Republic was formed to make Sacramento a better place to live, work and play,” Gumpert said. “What’s really been true to this mission now in year seven, it really has brought people from Sacramento together that nothing else has. It’s truly been a grassroots, fan-driven club from the beginning. That’s what made it so powerful and exciting, that’s what will continue to differentiate ourselves.”
The Republic, which won the USL title in their first season of existence in 2014, will seek to extend that ethos to the playing side once they enter MLS in 2022.
“You have to rely on your teammates, and to take it a step further, it takes the community,” academy manager and Sacramento native Jeremy Field said. “It takes fans. It takes leadership. It takes everybody to make Sacramento work, we’re just scrappers here and want to prove you wrong. The whole city is behind this project.”
It took a Republic to arrive in MLS and the club aren’t about to change now.