Major League Soccer (MLS) in the US has awarded an expansion team to California’s capital city, Sacramento.
Sacramento Republic Football Club will begin playing in MLS in 2022 and will build a new, $300 million, 20,100-seat soccer stadium in the downtown Railyards District.
The stadium will be a centrepiece of a redevelopment project that will include housing, retail, theatres, parks, museums, a hotel and a major medical centre.
MLS commissioner Don Garber said:
Major League Soccer continues to grow throughout North America and we are so proud to welcome Sacramento as our newest team.
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 Darren Steinberg, Sacramento will join MLS with a world-class soccer stadium that will transform the sport in California’s capital.
The 20th largest media market in the United States, Sacramento sent a message to the North American soccer community in 2014 when the debut of their USL club saw a capacity crowd of more than 20,000 fans pack Hughes Stadium for the inaugural match of Sacramento Republic FC.
Since then, Sacramento has demonstrated its love for soccer — selling out match after match for Republic FC and establishing a new standard at the USL level.
In the USL, Republic FC has set league records in many business metrics, including season ticket sales and merchandising, and have hosted exhibition matches against top international clubs.
The excitement and support from within the community over MLS coming to Sacramento has been evident throughout the expansion process. When Republic FC announced two years ago that season ticket holders would receive priority when the club joined MLS, the club received commitments for more than 10,000 season tickets for the proposed MLS team.
With the addition of the MLS team in Sacramento, 19 clubs have joined MLS since 2005, fulfilling a vision for strategic expansion that has transformed the landscape of professional soccer across North America.