Sacramento Republic Ready For MLS, But Still Waiting For Chance
In the time since Sacramento Republic FC made its MLS intentions clear, league expansion has become an "expensive game of musical chairs for all involved," and at this point, the bid "hasn't found its chair," according to Jeff Rueter of THE ATHLETIC. Sacramento believes it has "never been more MLS-ready than it is today." The reasoning is two-fold: a new chief investor for Republic FC in Penguins co-Owner Ron Burkle, and a "return to the club’s roots." In '14, Republic FC won the USL Cup while "breaking league attendance records." However, paid attendance is "only part of the equation to get into MLS." The league focuses on three key components: a soccer-specific stadium, a committed local ownership group and a market with "strong support for soccer." For Sacramento, the stadium piece has been "locked in place for a couple years" with the 244-acre parcel known as the Railyards. As for local ownership, it has been a "rollercoaster ride" that has largely defined Republic FC's bid since '17. The third part of the pitch has "aspects that can favor the Sacramento bid, and also those that sideswipe it." Republic's "consistently strong attendance in USL proves the city's interest in soccer." However, the city does "not have a single Fortune 500 company in its area, and adding the club would give the MLS a fourth Californian side" (THEATHLETIC.com, 2/6).