My sleepy town of Sacramento is making its biggest push to wake up and be relevant in the decades since I’ve been here. Of course by “relevant”, I guess what I mean is that it’s building a lot of trendy overpriced places for hipsters to eat and drink.
But the thing that is really appealing to me is the passionate pursuit to land a professional sports franchise that isn’t the Raiders. The Sacramento Republic FC is now in its second season, following an inaugural championship campaign that left no doubt of our city’s ability to support a pro club. And while everything thus far has been all fine and good, we all know the ultimate goal is to become a Major League Soccer city. Anything less would be a travesty.
For anyone who invested themselves in the Sacramento Kings near-championship run in 2002 only to see the team fall devastatingly short, you could feel the collective sucker punch that had been levied against the town. To finally be that close to something incredible only to have it snatched away was a pain that, in some respects, the city has yet to recover from.
To see such amazing support for the Republic and the building momentum towards an MLS decision in the coming months feels like that same championship run in 2002. You can just feel the energy of the fan base and much of the city coming together in support of something amazing. To fall short of the dream would be heartbreaking.
This is a soccer town! Anyone who saw the Sacramento Knights play in the 90’s knows this – a professional-level team that broke its own league attendance records season after season until finally getting Maloofed. Anyone who has a kid playing youth soccer on one of the abundant, yet always crowded, soccer fields in our area during the soccer season knows this. And if you have been lucky enough to be in attendance of any of the Republic games – all of which have been sold out – you absolutely know this.
MLS is the goal, and no league with a genuine interest in expanding the popularity of this sport in our country, could possibly deny Sacramento of this opportunity. This city was truly Built for MLS, and this is our moment! We will not come up short this time. We can’t. We’re indomitable!