By CapRadio Staff
For decades, Sacramento has had one major league sports team. But that's poised to change on Monday, when Major League Soccer is expected to announce the Republic FC
The news will be revealed during a morning press conference with city officials and the team’s owners, including billionaire investor Ron Burkle. They're scheduled to be joined by MLS Commissioner Don Garber — who Tweeted a photo of the Tower Bridge on Sunday — and Gov. Gavin Newsom. A block party celebration is also planned for Capitol Mall at 4 p.m.
The team would become the 29th to join MLS. The Republic plans to host matches at a soon-to-be-under-construction, $252 million stadium in the city’s downtown railyards.
Fan celebrations kicked off early this past weekend, as the faithful gathered to watch its team take on its competition from Salt Lake City at the downtown cantina and restaurant Chando’s.
Matthew Waldron of Fair Oaks relished the moment.
“It’s been complete excitement,” he said of the announcement. “I’ve been following soccer my whole life, lived in Sacramento my whole life, it’s a really great accomplishment for the city to be able to get the MLS team.”
Tracy Dubay of Folsom says she’s endured the ups and downs, but was excited for Monday’s big news.
“We are overjoyed,” she said. “It took longer than we had hoped, but we are ecstatic that it’s finally coming, it’s finally happening.”
It’s been a long road for the Republic, which has aspired to join the top North American pro-soccer league since news of the franchise broke in 2012.
The Republic won the United Soccer League championship in its first season in 2014, but its immediate success on the field did not translate to an MLS invitation.
But in January, billionaire Ron Burkle, who also owns the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team, came on board as lead investor. And in April, City Council approved the new downtown stadium plan.
Also that month, MLS announced it would add two more expansion franchises, bringing the number of teams to 30, and it tapped St. Louis and finally Sacramento as likely additions.
Last week, after a summer of negotiations, reports emerged that Sacramento had finally sealed the deal.
The Republic is positioned to make its MLS debut in 2022.
Kate Gonzalez contributed reporting for this story.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the Republic FC's current affiliation. The USL is a professional league.