The news on Tuesday was momentous, with NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird announcing out of the blue that Sacramento will have an expansion team in the league beginning with the 2022 season.
Details at the time were a bit scarce, they remain rather few, but here’s an update of what we know (and don’t) at this point in time regarding the new women’s pro soccer team.
Who owns the team?
Baird revealed that Ron Burkle and Matt Alvarez are involved with ownership of the NWSL team in Sacramento. Whether they are the only investors or part of a larger group is unknown at this time. Of course, Burkle and Alvarez are set to be lead investors for the Sacramento MLS expansion team, set to launch in 2023.
A spokesperson for Burkle identified him as “lead investor” for the new NWSL team and released the following statement to Indomitable City Soccer:
Sacramento’s soccer story continues to grow and we’re excited to welcome the best female players in the world when we enter the league in 2022. In working to grow the game in Northern California, we’ve seen the passion and pride that fans have first-hand and know that a top-flight women’s team would add to the excitement and growth of the city.
We’re honored to join the league, especially after a season where players, league leadership and fans have set new standards for the sports world. Thank you to Commissioner Baird and the investors, owners, and executives around the league for embracing Sacramento and its fans. Mayor Steinberg and the City Council have been great partners throughout and we have that rare combination here in Sacramento to do something truly special.”
When will they start play?
2022, that was one of the few details Baird did let slip in her announcement. A year lead-up (at least publicly) isn’t a ton of time, but multiple NWSL teams have launched or moved in the past and established themselves in a matter of weeks, so a year is a good launch period by prior league standards.
Sacramento won’t be the only California team to enter next year, joining Los Angeles-based Angel City FC. So there will be a NorCal-SoCal rivalry right out of the gate.
Where will they play?
Good question, and that has not yet been revealed. My working assumption is that they’ll play at Papa Murphy’s Park next year and then at the new stadium at the Railyards after that opens, but those are all assumptions right now. It’s worth noting, however, that the league has been moving to a standard where teams are no longer playing at bare-bones fields with zero amenities, so the home of Sacramento Republic, now and future, makes the most sense. But TBD on that.
Name, crest, colors?
We don’t know those, either. I highly doubt they will be called “Sacramento Republic” or “Sacramento Republic ladies” or the like. No team in NWSL that shares ownership with a men’s team shares the same name, and I personally think “Sac Republic Women” is a terrible name.
I would not be shocked if the colors are the same as Sac Republic’s, if the teams want to be run under the same general organization, but that’s not set, either.
The name, crest and colors will be revealed sometime this year, probably one element at a time.
Who’s the coach? Will players will join?
There is no coach yet, that we know of, and that appointment will likely be made sometime in the summer or fall. The first players will likely be added through the expansion draft, which will take place after the 2021 season, in November or December.
How can I learn more about this new team?
So far, there does not appear to be an official website dedicated to the team and I haven’t seen an official social media presence yet. I would hope those will be online before long, but I don’t know what the timeline is to officially launch the team on the local/internet side.
Who can I follow/read to learn more about NWSL?
Great question. We here at Indomitable City Soccer plan to cover the Sacramento team as closely as we do Sacramento Republic. But obviously this year news will come in drips and drabs while the club is working on the full launch.
For national coverage:
- Our sibling site here at SB Nation, All for XI, devoted to women’s soccer all over the world, run by Stephanie Yang.
- The Equalizer, the long-running independent women’s soccer site, remains a must-read.
- Meg Linehan at The Athletic helms that site’s NWSL coverage so if you already have a subscription, be sure to check out her work.
- You can find other great writers and content producers through the NWSL Media Association, if you just can’t get enough.