Today was a huge moment in Sacramento Republic FC’s quest to get into MLS. It was the deadline for official bids for the next round of MLS expansion, and the Sacramento Republic bid went in alongside those other hopefuls.
Or at least, it should have. The Republic crest and seemingly any mention of the team that drew MLS attention to the city in the first place were apparently scrubbed from the bid that Kevin Nagle and Co hand-delivered today.
If the Sacramento bid that MLS was given was in fact part of an attempt to capitalize on the Republic’s popularity without bringing the team along (and we don’t know for sure if it is), it might just be the stupidest thing that I have ever seen anyone seeking an MLS expansion team do. And I was around when Elk Grove was trying to pretend like they were important enough to be even considered as a possibility.
To try and scrub the Republic from a Sacramento MLS bid is not just plain idiotic, it is also disrespectful to the thousands of incredibly dedicated fans and the multitude of amazing people in the team organization that literally put the city on the national soccer map.
When the Republic was first announced, it was nowhere near what it is today. Sacramento was not even a blip on the national soccer radar.
It took 20,000-plus fans to pack Hughes Stadium for most of the national soccer community to even realize that Sacramento had a professional soccer team. And after that, it took record-breaking attendance, some of the most entertaining soccer being played anywhere in the US, and a USL Championship before MLS itself finally took notice.
And that was just the first year.
Kevin Nagle and (apparently) Meg Whitman didn’t do that. They had nothing to do with making the Republic what it is today. Credit for that goes to Warren Smith, Joe Wagoner, and everyone else who put in the incredibly hard work that took the Republic from just another soccer team in Sacramento to an integral part of the soccer community here.
To be fair, Nagle has brought some much needed monetary strength to the expansion bid. But the possibility that he is now turning his back on the Republic organization, which may very well be happening, is disgusting.
Republic fans were — to put it lightly — unhappy at the prospect of Nagle ditching the team that made his bid relevant.
@EvanReam HUGE. Would be so stupid. And make the bid less appealing to MLS.— Travis (@LetsGoSac) February 1, 2017
@EvanReam I won't support any other team in Sacramento if it's not Republic.— Jafar (@JafarsBazaar) February 1, 2017
@EvanReam People have Republic tattoos. I'm not one of them, but...— Jason R Riley (@jasonrriley) February 1, 2017
@KevinNagleMLS IF this is the SRFC bid we supported for years, we'll work to make it successful. If not, TBB and others will pull support.— Ryan Schauland (@rschauland) February 1, 2017
Their sentiment is the right one. If the Republic is not part of the Sacramento MLS bid, it is not one I want to see succeed.