Is Sacramento Republic FC a Lock for MLS? Maybe Not

Sacramento Republic FC hosting Portland

With it looking like the soonest Sacramento Republic FC could enter MLS is 2020, some team leaders and followers say that things are great the way they are and too much emphasis has been placed on Major League Soccer.

Sacramento has been mentioned as an MLS contender for months now, but not necessarily in the top echelon of cities: MLS officials have always mentioned St. Louis and Detroit in the same breath as Sacramento. And with Minnesota announced for 2017 and Los Angeles for 2018 (with Miami still assumed to be joining at the same time), it looks like the earliest Sacramento could make the move from USL to MLS is 2020. Which is a long way off, and given that Sacramento Republic FC has been tremendously successful to date, the question becomes: why move to MLS? From the Sacramento Bee:

Club president Warren Smith acknowledged after Saturday night’s match that maybe too much of the focus the past year or so had been on a future in MLS. The organization has put a lot of cash into preparation for the step into the big league of American soccer, in expanding the seating capacity at Bonney Field, in building its youth academy. Recently, he sent a letter to season-ticket holders that sounded a little bit like an apology for the club maybe getting a bit ahead of itself.

The bottom line for the team now is to embrace the present and let the future take care of itself.

“We’re not pulling our eyes off MLS,” Smith said Saturday, “but we can’t control their timetable. We just want to focus on what’s in front of us right now and making this club as special as it can be – where we are, right now.”

You can argue that these moves — the youth academy, the seating capacity — are also part of what could be the foundation of a successful USL strategy, especially if USL moves up to the second division. The future of American soccer remains bright — and even brighter if the second division is strengthened.

Image courtesy Sacramento Republic FC.

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