USL announced Monday that Monterey Bay FC will enter the USL Championship for the 2022 season. The club will play their games at Cal State Monterey Bay, and are investing to renovate the facilities there.
“We’re very excited to welcome Monterey Bay FC to the USL Championship,” said USL President Jake Edwards in a statement. “It’s a diverse and beautiful community that has a tremendous passion for soccer. MBFC adds to a growing west coast footprint and we can’t wait to see what they can do against regional rivals like Oakland Roots SC and Sacramento Republic FC in the years to come.”
The club will be owned by a group including Ray Beshoff, who happens to be the same person who owned former USL Championship team Fresno FC and then folded them after two years because he said he couldn’t get a stadium deal there. That factor led some to openly criticize Monday’s announcement after the news dropped, including businessman Jordan Gardner, who now has ownership stakes in several European clubs:
I'm not sure where to even begin w/ this decision from USL— Jordan Gardner (@mrjordangardner) February 1, 2021
✅ Unproven market w/ zero history of successful pro sports
✅ Ownership group just destroyed a market & have proven they don't know how to properly run a club
✅ New team president worked for the owner's car dealerships https://t.co/aAmaustfNf
Monterey Bay’s sporting director will be Frank Yallop, former MLS Coach of the Year, Canadian national team manager, and most recently, manager of Las Vegas Lights FC.
The new team will join Oakland Roots, scheduled to enter the USL Championship this year, as local NorCal rivals to Sacramento Republic prior to that club’s scheduled entry in MLS in 2023. Plus, the teams will likely play each other beyond that in the U.S. Open Cup.
As someone who has visited Monterey Bay before and absolutely loved it, it will make a fantastic away day trip. Will they succeed in this market? Time will tell, but hopefully they don’t do another two years and then pull the plug. Best of luck to the new fans of the club (except when you’re playing Sac Republic).
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