SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Mayor Kevin Johnson made sure to show at this Sacramento Republic FC home game.
Back from trying to woo Major League Soccer to award Sacramento an expansion franchise, Johnson is now working to find a way to build another sports complex in the city.
“I feel really good about our chances in Sacramento,” Johnson said.
But there are still many things that need to be done. The team needs to continue talks with potential partners and narrow in on a site.
The mayor is hoping for downtown.
“It might be too early to say, but I’m pretty excited about the rail yard. Let me just say that,” Johnson said.
And who would be paying for the MLS stadium? Bonney Field was built from private funds; Johnson says he expects the same for a new stadium.
“We’re going to be good partners and do all that we can to be as creative as possible, but I think it’s going to be on them to pull this off,” Johnson said.
And what happens to Bonney Field? The team will continue to use the facility. But if MLS becomes a reality, it’ll become an option for other sports teams.
“It’s also a great facility for things like rugby matches and college games and high school,” said Erika Bjork, Marketing and Communications Sacramento Republic FC.
As far as convincing MLS officials that Sacramento is where it’s at, commentator Kevin Goldthwaite says it’s as simple as looking at the Republic’s track record.
“They’ve shown the league that this city has an appetite for soccer,” Goldthwaite said.
And one thing is certain: Sac Republic fans would welcome an MLS franchise with open arms.
“The turnout we’ve had here lately is fantastic so an MLS team here could really do Sacramento some good,” a fan said.
A lot of this could still take some time. It would be a few years down the line before this dream becomes a reality.