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MLS awards expansion team to Sacramento

11:25 PM EDT 10/21/19
Sacramento MLS Expansion
The club will join the league in 2022 after several years of pushing for an expansion slot

Major League Soccer announced on Monday that Sacramento has been given an expansion team, becoming the league's 29th club.

Sacramento Republic FC will begin play in MLS in 2022, putting a successful end to their pursuit of an MLS club that began when the team began play in the USL in 2014.

As part of the expansion progress, Sacramento will build a $300 million, 20,100-seat soccer-specific stadium in the downtown Railyards District.

“Major League Soccer continues to grow throughout North America and we are so proud to welcome Sacramento as our newest team,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “For many years, soccer fans in Sacramento have passionately supported Republic FC and shown that the club deserves to be competing at the highest level.

"Thanks to the determined efforts and commitment of new owners Ron Burkle and Matt Alvarez along with the leadership of Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Sacramento will join MLS with a world-class soccer stadium that will transform the sport in California’s capital.”

Burkle, owner of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins, is the club's lead investor while Alvarez, an entertainment producer, and Sacramento Kings investor Kevin Nagle are also involved in the ownership group. Nagle has been with the club since 2014.

“Sacramento’s selection by Major League Soccer for an expansion team is a victory to be celebrated by everyone in our community,” said Burkle. “This has been a true team effort between the amazing soccer fans of the Sacramento region along with Mayor Steinberg and City Council, our partners and corporate leaders.

"We are proud to be part of the team that Kevin Nagle put together, which is made even stronger by an incredibly committed local ownership group. The relationship between Sacramento and our club already is a special one, and I’m committed to deepening that connection for years to come.”

A total of 24 teams competed in MLS in 2019, the first season for expansion side FC Cincinnati. Next season, the league will feature the debuts of two new clubs, with Inter Miami and Nashville SC joining play to take the total to 26 teams.

Austin FC will then join the league and begin play in 2021 with a new team in St. Louis set to join alongside Sacramento one year later.

In April, the league announced plans to expand to 30 teams, with the likes of Charlotte, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Raleigh and Detroit among the contenders for that final spot.