Sacramento, California, is reportedly set to be awarded an expansion slot by Major League Soccer (MLS) next week to become the league’s 29th franchise.
The news, which was broken by the Sacramento Bee, states that California’s capital city is set to be announced by the MLS in a press conference on Monday, with the United Soccer League’s (USL) Sacramento Republic FC expected to be granted the slot and make the leap up from North America’s second division to its top tier football league.
The MLS recently granted expansion slots to both St. Louis FC and Austin FC. At the time, league officials said they were confident that Sacramento was still in line for an MLS expansion slot as it continued on its road to 30 franchises.
At the time, MLS Commissioner Don Garber stated: “Sacramento has persistently told us for nearly five years that they are built for MLS. We know Sacramento has a transformational stadium plan and strong engagement from government leaders.
“Since Ron and Matt recently became controlling partners in the ownership group, our expansion committee wanted to meet with them and learn more about their plans for the club.”
The Sacramento franchise will be required to pay a $200m expansion fee should it receive the official league expansion slot and in doing so will become the fourth MLS team in California, joining the likes of LA Galaxy, LAFC and the San Jose Earthquakes.
Following the news, the Republic released a statement on social media which read: “We share the great excitement and anticipation in our community about Sacramento’s bid to join Major League Soccer. We will continue to respect the MLS expansion process and remain confident about the future of our club and our city. We look forward to sharing more information in the days ahead.”
The Republic, who were overlooked in the MLS’ 2017 expansion round due to financial concerns, has seemingly secured its financial stability as it now finds itself in the position of having the financial backing of Ron Burkle, part owner of the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins, as well as partner Matt Alvarez.
A fan event has also been reportedly organised to follow immediately after Mondays suspected press conference in order to celebrate the franchise award.