Sacramento Republic FC announced Friday they will enter Major League Soccer in the 2023 season, pushing their entry in the American top flight one year.
The decision comes as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with the shutdown of sports and economic sectors playing a direct role in hastening the decision. In particular, Sacramento Republic’s new stadium project is now scheduled to get fully underway in the fall, several months after the original timeline to begin the Railyards project.
“Our goal remains the same – to build the best stadium and MLS club befitting the wonderful Sacramento region. With an additional year, we can better adjust for the impact of the pandemic on our community and identify how we can best serve the neighbors and friends that have supported our club on its rise to Major League Soccer,” said Republic FC investor Matt Alvarez in a team statement. “We will bring Sacramento into the top-tier of American soccer ready to compete at a championship level, and create an opportunity to support the next era of regional growth with a world-class venue and a commitment to continued community investment.”
The club, MLS, and city leadership all came to a consensus on making the momentous decision, according to the announcement.
For the 2022 season, Sacramento Republic will continue to play in the USL Championship, the league the club has played in for their full existence to date, before making the move to MLS in 2023.
It’s worth noting Sacramento is not the only expansion city to be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. While Austin FC will enter MLS next year as originally planned, Charlotte will push back their entry to 2022 and St. Louis will join Sacramento in 2023, pushing their entry back a year as well.
Having said that, this is still a shock because unlike Austin or Charlotte, Sacramento have a team already. On one hand, getting to watch a team play will make the wait somewhat more tolerable, but on the other, waiting yet again for Sacramento to enter the league is a bummer. We’ll have more coverage of this later today, as it’s enormous news.
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