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How the Sacramento Republic FC unified a city and made me a fan in the process

The Republic are part of the fabric, identity, pride and culture of Sacramento

Photo Gallery: Sacramento Republic vs Real Monarchs SLC Indomitable City Soccer/Alex Leguizamo

Welcome to the refreshed Indomitable City Soccer! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!

As someone who has been following and writing about the Sacramento Republic FC since their inaugural season, I have often asked myself why I devote so much of my free time (which let’s be clear is very limited) to following the Club? How did my interest in soccer become a healthy obsession for the Republic? Let’s examine.

For context purposes, you should probably know that I have watched my fair share of soccer over the years, including moments in time when I shouldn’t have been. Like the time I failed a summer school statistics class in 1998 to skip out to watch the World Cup. I needed that class to transfer to a four-year college, but instead, had to retake it in the fall before I was eligible to transfer. I’ll go ahead and say what you’re already thinking – bad decision.

But for the next decade, for whatever reason my interest in soccer waned. It wasn’t until I had my first child in 2010 that brought me back to the game. There I was, sitting in a dark living room at some ungodly hour with my wide-awake daughter illuminated only by the bright glow from a television showing English Premier League. In a flash, I was hooked again.

When the Republic arrived in 2014, there was a sense that this was exactly what Sacramento needed. Like many, I’ll never forget the inaugural game at Hughes Stadium with 20,000 of my best friends (and this super cool hype video). While we were excited that the Republic and soccer had finally arrived, many of us felt a seismic shift that evening in the future of Sacramento.

Yes, we had the Sacramento Kings and Sacramento Rivercats (AAA baseball), but nothing brings people and a community together like soccer. It’s unifying. The Republic unified a city and community that I care deeply about, which has been transformational for Sacramento.

Of course, who could forget the Miracle at Bonney. We all remember that game, right? Three goals in 22 minutes from Rodrigo Lopez. Who could resist being drawn in by those theatrics?

I have had the great fortune of attending many memorable sports games throughout the years, such as Mike Bibby’s Game 5 winning shot in the 2002 Western Conference Finals and Travis Ishikawa’s walk-off homerun in 2014 to send the San Francisco Giants to the World Series. What I witnessed that night from Lopez and the Republic is right up there. I still get chills when I think about the explosion of energy I felt from the crowd when Lopez netted the go-ahead goal to send the Qualis to the USL Cup Final. Anyone who was there knows what I’m talking about.

The Republic are part of the fabric, identity, pride and culture of Sacramento. They are part of our future if you’re like me in believing Major League Soccer is coming to Sacramento soon. They tapped into something in our community that up until 2013, was untapped. The Republic dared us to dream, made us believe Sacramento could be more than what it was, and brought us together in ways we didn’t know was possible.

In the end, this is why I am a fan of the Republic. Boy did they make it easy.

Editor’s Note: For those of you looking to get into that Fanpost drawing, make sure to take a look at the note down below.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. SB Nation Why Are You a Fan Reader Sweepstakes starts on 8:00am ET on May 25, 2017 and ends at 11:59pm ET on June 8, 2017. Open only to eligible legal residents of the United States, 18 years or older. Click here for Official Rules and complete details, including entry instructions, odds of winning, alternative method of entry, prize details and restrictions, etc. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor: Vox Media, Inc.