Sacramento Republic FC: All quiet on the MLS expansion front

SACRAMENTO, CA - JULY 18: Jack Colback
SACRAMENTO, CA - JULY 18: Jack Colback /

Sacramento Republic FC and supporters stay committed to one more MLS expansion shot. They’re quietly powering up their next bid.

Local media haven’t talked up Sacramento Republic FC leaving USL and joining MLS since the Austin FC and Columbus Crew matter got settled. New ownership ensured that Columbus Crew SC will stay home. And MLS announced a clear path for Austin to get their own team.

So they’re quiet. But nothing’s been forgotten. They’re steadily building up steam.

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Sacramento’s taking the tack of further strengthening their soccer culture, bottom to top. It started with an announcement this summer.

That’s when the team announced a new scarf for their shelves next season. It’s designed by local artist Lin Fei Fei, who moved to Sacramento from Shenyang, China. She won an art contest sponsored by the team.

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We’re talking long-term culture-building.

About the same time, the organization announced plans to set up a team base camp for the 2026 World Cup. Many cities that don’t even host World Cup games involve their citizens to a high level by hosting these team base camps. By hosting one of the 48 teams and their fans, they’ll build a lasting soccer cultural experience.

And that experience starts well before the World Cup. It’ll last long after.

Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara will probably host World Cup matches. This is home to the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, investors in Sacramento Republic FC. That’s relatively close by Sacramento. Both NFL and USL organizations have made plans that will make a Sacramento base team camp work.

Republic FC says their plan would still work should Seattle or Los Angeles get nods for 2026 World Cup games. Sacramento expects hundreds of international visitors spending time and money in their community. They stay confident that a World Cup team base camp will be theirs.

Sacramento explores broad dimensions of soccer by hosting Street Soccer USA’s National Cup Tournament this September. The tournament attracts 300 players, ages 20-50s, who play for chances to make the Street Soccer World Cup in Mexico. Many spectators show up and pay attention to how the competition gets set up. They learn how to quickly and easily set up games for themselves. Street soccer makes it easy to spread the essence of the sport.

All this soccer activity occurred while Republic FC fought through a tough USL regular season into the playoffs. They lasted until the Western Conference Division semi-finals.

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Consider all this year’s activity as the slow buildup to something great. It’s Sacramento’s strongest bid yet to move Republic FC to MLS. They’ve got the culture. They’ve got the supporters. They’ve got the organization. This time, they’ll win their biggest soccer challenge yet.