SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The city of Sacramento just scored a major goal! Mayor Kevin Johnson announced Monday that a professional soccer team will soon be calling the Capital City home.
A group of investors, led by local business leader Warren Smith, has bought a United Soccer League franchise and hope to convert it into a Major League Soccer team for Sacramento.
“Sacramento is one of the strongest soccer regions in the country,” said Warren Smith, founder of Sacramento Professional Soccer, LLC. “We already have numerous professional soccer players that are from Sacramento, or make their home here. It is time for the people of Sacramento to have the opportunity to watch them play on the national stage and to show the rest of the world that the Sacramento area is a great soccer region.”
The newly formed team is slated to begin play in 2014. The investors are negotiating for a lease to play at Sacramento City College’s Hughes Stadium.
Even before the new team starts official play in 2014, soccer fans will get to see them in action. The franchise plans a series of exhibition matches in 2013 and will offer soccer clinics and player appearances leading up to the 2014 season.
Smith has experience bringing sports to the Sacramento-area. He helped bring the Sacramento River Cats to West Sacramento. City officials and leaders hope this team will help showcase Sacramento as a sports city.
“Sacramento is a community that’s demonstrated an unwavering commitment to amateur and professional sports time and time again,” said Steve Hammond, president & CEO of the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We are excited at the opportunity that professional soccer presents to this region and look forward to helping to make it a successful and long-term endeavor for this community.”
The USL currently has 11 teams: Antigua Barracuda FC, Charleston Battery, Charlotte Eagles, Dayton Dutch Lions, Harrisburg City Islanders, Los Angeles Blues, Orlando City, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Richmond Kickers, Rochester Royals, and Willington Hammerheads. With Sacramento joining in 2014 and Phoenix and Tampa coming on next year, the league will expand to 14 teams.
For updates follow the team on Twitter at @SacProSoccer, “Like” them on Facebook at Facebook.com/SacProSoccer or visit SacProSoccer.com.