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Sacramento Republic coach Mark Briggs on MLS expansion quest: ‘We have to come out fighting’

Coach has a message to not give up on top-flight dreams.

Sacramento Republic FC are set to open preseason the week after next, and while attention will turn to the action on the field before long, head coach Mark Briggs spoke out about the big news around the club, that the purported official MLS expansion bid was nothing of the sort, after Ron Burkle pulled out as the lead investor for the expansion quest last week.

Briggs spoke on Wednesday’s episode of “The Breakaway: Live,” the club’s official show, broadcast on Facebook.

Host Connor Sutton asked Briggs at the top of the episode what message the coach had following the shock news, and Briggs admitted the soccer team was blindsided as much as the outside world.

“Everybody obviously was disappointed, surprised, shocked, whatever the emotion that was on Friday, we all felt it,” Briggs said. “Whether you’re a supporter, whether you’re a coach, a player, you work for the club, tickets, sponsorships, whatever it may be. Everybody had the same emotion — it was disappointment.”

But Briggs said he doesn’t think the quest for MLS is dead, and in the process endorsed new president Todd Dunivant, who is adding business duties to his ongoing role as the team’s GM.

“The way I look at it is we have a leadership in Kevin Nagle, who came out and was very positive, was on the front foot, and showed that he has a never say die attitude. It shows that he’s a fighter, and we then have a new president in Todd Dunivant, who’s a winner, who wants to scrap, who wants to fight and who will stop at nothing to get new investment.”

From there, Briggs put on his coach’s hat and sought to rally the team.

“You have a choice, right? It’s like you’re in a game and the referees give a terrible decision against you, or you’ve just conceded a goal,” he explained. “You have a choice, what do you do? Do you roll over, and lose the game, lose the fight, or do you come out and stand up, come punching? Now for me, we have an opportunity within Sacramento, within our community, within the city, within our fanbase, we have an opportunity to show everybody in America, in MLS, in USL, we have an opportunity to show them what an atmosphere Papa Murphy’s [Park] can be.

“We have an opportunity to fill Papa Murphy’s, to be an atmosphere where people walk away like, ‘Oh my god. I loved being in that atmosphere, I loved being in that environment.’ And to show people that we are ready for MLS, and we will stop at nothing to become an MLS football club. That’s my challenge to our city, to everybody involved. You don’t just give up when you face a hurdle, when you face a challenge. You come out fighting and you come out punching. That’s what we have to do as a football club, as a city. We have to come out fighting, we have to have one another’s back. We have to do whatever it takes to get where ever we want to be. That’s my message to everybody.”

So there you have it from the gaffer. We’ll have more on Briggs’ interview on “The Breakaway: Live” coming up.

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