Major League Soccer will formally award its 29th club to Sacramento Republic at a news conference Monday in California’s capital, multiple sources confirmed to Yahoo Sports.
The Sacramento Bee broke the news earlier this week. An MLS spokesman declined to comment beyond noting that the Bee has “good reporters,” while the Republic — which has competed in the American second tier for the last eight seasons — invited media members to attend a “major” announcement Monday “regarding the future of soccer in Sacramento.”
SRFC investors Ron Burkle, Matt Alvarez and Kevin Nagle are scheduled to attend, as is Sacramento major Darrell Steinberg. MLS commissioner Don Garber and other league officials are also expected to be there.
The promotion to the top circuit in the United States and Canada has been a long time coming for Sacramento, which has been actively pursuing an expansion slot since 2014. But a number of cities — Atlanta, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Nashville, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul and St. Louis — jumped ahead of them in the queue amid questions about the Republic’s ability to secure the necessary financing for the project, including MLS’s $200 million entry fee.
Their fortunes changed when billionaire California native and Pittsburgh Penguins owner Burkle, Hollywood producer Alvarez and local businessman Nagle joined forces earlier this year.
The group plans to build a $250 million, 20,000-seat downtown stadium for the Republic, which will become the Golden State’s fourth MLS club. The LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes are charter members of the 24-year-old MLS. LAFC, which joined the league as as an expansion team last season, heads into the league’s upcoming MLS Cup playoffs as the favorite after compiling the highest points total in history this year.
Atlanta United won MLS Cup in its second season after entering the league in 2017 alongside Minnesota United. FC Cincinnati arrived this year, while Inter Miami and Nashville SC will kick off next February. St. Louis’s all-female ownership group — a first in MLS — was awarded the league’s 28th spot in August.
Sacramento is expected to begin play in MLS in 2022.
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