Republic to join MLS fold in 2023


Sacramento Stadium July 2020 update Image: HNTB & Sacramento Republic

COVID-19 has forced Major League Soccer (MLS) and American professional soccer team Republic FC to announce a new timeline for the expansion club. Originally slated to begin MLS play in 2022, Sacramento will now join the league’s fold in 2023 in a new, soccer-specific, downtown venue. The team is also known as the Sacramento Republic Football Club.

A decision to this regard was made by MLS Commissioner Don Garber, in coordination with the league’s Board of Governors, and the ownership group in Sacramento led by Ron Burkle and in sync with Sacramento (California, US) Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

Republic FC is an American professional soccer team based in Sacramento, California, that plays in the Western Conference of the United Soccer League (USL) Championship.

Major League Soccer is a men’s professional soccer league sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation which represents the sport’s highest level in the United States and Canada. The league comprises 26 teams — 23 in the US and three in Canada — and will expand to 30 teams by the 2023 season.

The construction sector is facing a lot of challenges due to the coronavirus global outbreak and the one-year adjustment to the club’s expansion timeline will give the team the opportunity to address these challenges and formulate new strategies with local leaders to meet the club and stadium goals to support Sacramento’s workforce and communities facing challenges connected to the global health crisis.

The Railyards Stadium is a planned 21,000 seat soccer-specific stadium to be built in Sacramento, California. It will serve as the home for Sacramento Republic FC. The team’s current home ground is Papa Murphy’s Park.

With a longer lead time, the team will be able to address unforeseen challenges that may arise in the months to come as health guidelines and protocols continue to shift and businesses are required to adapt. Changes to the timeline will also provide ownership with a window to revisit elements of the stadium to enhance the fan experience, support community health and wellness through the use of futuristic technologies, and shape a vision for the new entertainment district that will sit next to the Railyards Stadium, anchoring the largest urban infill project in the country.

“We have always taken a thoughtful and strategic approach to our expansion planning and have delivered successful launches for every new club,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber.

“It is important for each club to take the necessary time to launch their inaugural MLS seasons the way their fans and communities deserve. With the extra year to make up for what has been a challenging 2020, these teams will be well-positioned for their debuts and for long-term success,” Garber added.

“Our goal remains the same – to build the best stadium and MLS club befitting the wonderful Sacramento region. With an additional year, we can better adjust for the impact of the pandemic on our community and identify how we can best serve the neighbors and friends that have supported our club on its rise to Major League Soccer,” commented Republic FC Investor Matt Alvarez.

“We will bring Sacramento into the top-tier of American soccer ready to compete at a championship level, and create an opportunity to support the next era of regional growth with a world-class venue and a commitment to continued community investment,” Alvarez added.

“We know there have been major impacts from the pandemic in every aspect of our great city and we recognize that our MLS project is not impervious to those impacts,” said Mayor Steinberg.

“I applaud how Republic FC has shifted their resources during this time to support those most in need in our community and I have no doubt that we will celebrate a world-class stadium opening and our MLS inaugural season together in 2023,” Steinberg added.

To help the club through this unique time, sports and entertainment venue leaders CAA ICON and Mortenson have been selected to support the development and construction of the Railyards Stadium. Mortenson will play the role of the general contractor, providing in-depth market insights and innovative construction delivery.

As Developer’s Representative, CAA ICON will take on the reins of project management services throughout the development, design, and construction of the stadium including design coordination, budget and schedule controls implementation, and oversight of construction and commissioning activities.

CAA ICON, Mortenson and architect HNTB have been involved in launching of some of the world’s most cutting-edge and advanced facilities – Chase Center in San Francisco, Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, and Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara – all in the United States – apart from many of the avant-garde soccer-specific venues currently in progress.

Very soon, the club will announce its lead, local construction partner who will support initiatives developed to build economic activity throughout the region.

Preparation for stadium construction continues as adjacent projects and infrastructure work are moving forward throughout The Railyards. City projects that will have a direct connection to Railyards Stadium remain on course and are ready to launch early next year. Stadium plans have been filed with the City of Sacramento Building Department and the review and approval process are already underway.

With the adjusted timeline to address the complexities of construction related to the pandemic, the Railyards Stadium will now break ground this Fall, and implement a project schedule that will ensure that the stadium goes on stream for a full 2023 season. The new construction timeline will incorporate staffing impacts resulting from the pandemic and well as implement design updates to the venue reflective of advanced technology and sustainability to promote health and celebrate the Sacramento region.

Republic FC season ticket members and Railyards Stadium deposit holders retain their priority and seat selection will continue as planned, beginning in 2021. Later this year, fans and local business owners will take a dekko at the team’s new premium seating options, beginning with suites this Fall, and club, general admission, and Supporters Section seating set to begin next summer.

Republic FC will remain in USL’s Championship division through the 2022 season while maintaining preparations for its inaugural season in MLS. The club’s youth development academy – in existence since 2015 and has generated 12 first-team players – is set to join the new MLS elite youth platform this season featuring year-round competition. The club also continues to develop plans for a high-performance training center in the region that will accommodate the first team and all academy players, with a goal to also include auxiliary fields to stage huge sports tournaments for youths, and much more.

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