Sacramento named 1 of 4 finalist cities for MLS expansion

An announcement by Major League Soccer (MLS) puts Sacramento closer to achieving their goal of bringing professional soccer to the city.

Sacramento is so close to getting a Major League Soccer team, the city can almost taste it.

The MLS announced early Wednesday that the city is officially one of four competing for the next two expansion slots to join America's top soccer league. The other three finalists are Cincinnati, Detroit and Nashville.

The next two MLS expansion teams will be selected before the end of the year. Two more expansion teams will be picked later. In 2015, MLS announced plans to expand to 28 teams. Los Angeles Football Club begins play in 2018, becoming the league's 23rd team. Discussions continue for a MLS expansion team in Miami.

In a statement, MLS Commissioner Don Garber said, in part, "The leaders of the Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville and Sacramento MLS expansion ownership groups have bold visions and innovative plans for their clubs, stadiums and their involvement in their respective communities."

Like Sacramento, both Cincinnati and Nashville have soccer clubs in the United Soccer League. Detroit, meanwhile, has a team in the National Premier Soccer League.

The groups representing each prospective team will present bids on December 6 to Garber and the league's expansion committee. Sacramento's bid is led by Kings minority owners Kevin Nagle and Mark Friedman and San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York. Nagle is the chairman and CEO of the Sacramento Republic FC.

In a statement following the announcement, Nagle said the club is "thrilled and honored" to be one of the four finalists.

“This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for," Nagle said. "After four years of demonstrating unparalleled passion, tenacity and hard work, Sacramento is ready to secure our destiny as a Major League Soccer city."

The four ownership groups were the top of 12 markets that submitted bids in January as part of the leagues expansion to 28 teams.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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