An announcement by Major League Soccer (MLS) puts Sacramento closer to achieving their goal of bringing professional soccer to the city.
Sacramento was officially named one of the four finalist vying for the two MLS expansion slots, according to an MLS press release Wednesday morning. Sacramento Republic FC is currently a member of the United Soccer League.
Sacramento's efforts have been led by Republic FC CEO Kevin Nagle, Kings minority owner Mark Friedman and San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York. Nagle is at the forefront of the campaign and is excited about their chances in securing the bid.
“This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for," said Nagle. "After four years of demonstrating unparalleled passion, tenacity and hard work, Sacramento is ready to secure our destiny as a Major League Soccer city."
This expansion process has been extensive and with the end nearing, here are three things you should be aware of:
What exactly is the city of Sacramento's bid?
The capitol city's bid for an expansion team has been centered around the #BringItHome campaign, including initiatives connected to it.
Some of those initiatives varied from the club connecting with at least 20,000 fans in hopes of filling the projected 20,000 seat stadium, to fans participating in town-hall type discussions sharing insight on fan experience and the club also working with local businesses on construction involvement and operations to deliver job opportunities.
In May, terms were announced for the club's "name, crest, brand identity and history will represent Sacramento at the Major League Soccer level" if they win the bid.
Also, in late July, Nagle along with Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg celebrated with over 100 businesses, fans and city leaders announcing the beginning of stadium construction at The Railyards downtown. The event seemingly launched the first of two phases for the "hopeful" MLS stadium.
Phase One is focusing on workers completing location preparation activities by spring 2018 and Phase Two will start full stadium construction activities that same spring. The construction plan is set for a February 2020 completion date, making the stadium on schedule to open for the 2020 MLS season.
Who are the three cities competing against Sacramento?
The other three cities who made the cut were Cincinnati, Detroit and Nashville.
Cincinnati and Nashville have clubs in the United Soccer League, while Detroit has one in the National Premier Soccer League. These three cities join Sacramento as four of the top 12 markets who submitted formal bids.
What's the timeline moving forward?
Well, everybody should be alert because the next two weeks are crucial.
The four teams are all scheduled to make formal presentations on Dec. 6 in New York City in front of MLS Commissioner Don Garber and the league's expansion committee. Then MLS's Board of Governors will hold "additional discussions" on Dec. 14 with every MLS club's ownership representatives.
After this meeting, a decision should be handed down by the league, so it's finally come time for Sacramento to #BringItHome! But remember, all cities under consideration who lose this bid will be candidates for the following two expansion clubs which will be announced at a later date.
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