Today is a big day in Sacramento’s history as Sacramento Republic is starting pre-construction for the new soccer stadium that will hold 19,621 seats in an effort to show MLS that Sacramento is more than ready to “bring it home.”
Construction crews will be working in the railyard for the next several weeks, adding and leveling soil to the 14.6-acre stadium site in the northeast corner of the development. The team’s goal is to complete the first phase before wet weather arrives, allowing for the soil to settle and crews to begin vertical construction in the spring. Republic FC officials compared the initial phase to the demolition of the former Downtown Plaza that made way for the eventual construction of Golden 1 Center. - Ryan Lillis, Sacramento Bee
This is a huge step for Sacramento Republic FC considering that none of the other bidding cities are even close to finishing their stadium plans, let alone starting construction. This is yet another huge box SRFC has checked and the already intense public pressure on MLS to expand to Sacramento will now be even greater.
The project also would mark the beginning of the end to one of the more useless pieces of land in the country. The Railyards are finally going to turn into an extended part of the city that would feature a new Kaiser complex, restaurants, bars, up to 10,000 homes and shops.
“This achievement is meaningful not only for our MLS bid, but also for the broader redevelopment of The Railyards and our city as a whole.” - Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg
During this morning’s press conference to start the construction, there were some key representatives for the fans, city, and team in super-fan Carmichael Dave, Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Councilman Jeff Harris, and SRFC CEO Kevin Nagle. All of them had plenty to say about the excitement and confidence they had in MLS coming to Sacramento.
Carmichael Dave’s Opening Statement:
“Whether you’re an athlete, a CEO, elected officials or civic leaders. One character trait I think you share is that confidence and being a believer in the fact that getting games, the competitions are won and lost well before the match begins simply because one side just has a stronger belief in themselves and in their teammates. Sacramento has America’s best team of leaders and certainly the most passionate group of fans who have been working for years to bring MLS to this region...The Sacramento that my son and daughter will grow up in will be far different than the one I have experienced my whole life. Doubt, frustration has been replaced with determination and confidence.”
During Mayor Darrell Steinberg’s statement, he talked about his confidence in the city of Sacramento bringing MLS to Sacramento due to their initiative, willingness and ability to start the construction of the stadium ground right now. He also brought up the large investment they would be receiving this very day which will only improve Sacramento’s chances.
“Later this afternoon we’re going before the State Air Resources Board and we’re going to collect the cool $44 million from Volkswagen to electrify Sacramento and this morning, we're here to move ground on a $250 million private sector investment. And for that we owe a great deal of thanks to Kevin Nagle.”
Kevin Nagle stood in front of the crowd to praise the optimism of the city, fans, and ownership group:
“I can tell to you that optimism is infectious... I’m a firm believer that actions speak louder than words and today as we commemorate the start of the stadium construction, Sacramento is making its strongest statement yet about its commitment to MLS. Simply put, Sacramento is a city that gets it done.”
You can watch the entire press conference here:
Today is an exciting time for Sacramento and this move by ownership represents the power and confidence our city has in getting an MLS club. After today, there is absolutely no reason for MLS to not select Sacramento as it’s next destination for an expansion team. The expansion decision for at least 2 teams was pushed back from September this year to December in order to give other cities a little more time. However, Sacramento has shown they are more than ready to put another top-tier professional team in this starving city.