Following a five-year effort to take Sacramento Republic FC to the top-tier of professional soccer in the United States, the team has officially been awarded entry to MLS after being announced as the latest expansion team.
The team, which is currently playing in the United Soccer League, will begin its first season in 2022, which will also mean it building a new US$300m stadium in the Californian city’s downtown Railyards District.
The 20,100-seat soccer-specific stadium is said to be a centerpiece of a redevelopment project that will include housing, retail, theaters, parks, museums, a hotel and a major medical center.
“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 Sacramento Mayor Darrell 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.”
Sacramento Republic FC has been playing in USL since 2014 and has seen a booming fan base with sell-out games that, no doubt, played a part in the MLS’ decision to award the franchise a spot in MLS.
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.
Republic FC will be the second professional sports team in the city, joining the National Basketball Association’s Kings. It will be the fourth MLS club in California, following the LA Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes and LAFC.
“Major League Soccer continues to grow throughout North America and we are so proud to welcome Sacramento as our newest team,” said Commissioner Don Garber. “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.”