SBD/January 24, 2014/Franchises

USL Pro Sacramento Republic FC Teams Up With Earthquakes, Timbers As Affiliate

Expansion USL Pro club Sacramento Republic FC has "dreams of growing" into an MLS franchise, and it "took another step in that direction Thursday by joining forces" with the MLS Earthquakes and Timbers, according to Marcos Breton of the SACRAMENTO BEE. When Republic FC "kicks off its initial season in the USL Pro league, it will do so as the shared affiliate of the Earthquakes and Timbers." By partnering with the Earthquakes, Republic FC "is laying the groundwork for what could be a fantastic future regional rivalry in MLS with San Jose -- a franchise steeped in MLS success." By partnering with the Timbers, Republic FC "will be affiliated with a model MLS franchise to emulate." Republic FC President & Founder Warren Smith "will need Sacramento to rally behind soccer and buy tickets in a big way." The team "has received just under 4,000 season ticket deposits -- with the goal of selling out an 8,000-seat stadium they hope to erect at Cal Expo." Timbers GM Galvin Wilkinson said of whether it is realistic for Republic FC to land an MLS franchise, "It’s very hard to say right now. You have to create a recognizable brand. It needs the backing of the community and the business community. ... But people in MLS are well aware of what Sacramento is doing." Earthquakes President David Kaval said that Republic FC "will get on the MLS radar by selling a lot of tickets this season and landing a major investor to help develop a stadium plan suitable for MLS" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 1/24).
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