Big news in sports today! United Soccer Leagues announced today it has awarded an expansion USL PRO franchise to Sacramento in 2014. The team is in an Exclusive Right to Negotiate (ERN) with Sacramento City College to play at Hughes stadium. Sacramento’s team will be the 14th for USL PRO. The effort will be lead by Warren Smith, founder of Sacramento Professional Soccer, LLC with the support of Mayor Kevin Johnson, Think Big Sacramento and the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Sacramento’s USL PRO franchise will plan a series of exhibition matches during 2013 involving domestic and international professional soccer teams. In addition, supper events, soccer clinics and player appearances will be scheduled leading up to the 2014 inaugural season. In early 2013, the francise will begin the process of building a professional franchise infrastructure, including personnel and naming the team with input and engagement from soccer fans.
Why soccer and why Sacramento? Our region has one of the strongest regional soccer scenes in the US, with some of the highest youth soccer participation rates in the country, as well as successful high school and collegiate programs. During the 2010 World Cup, Univision had higher viewership in Sacramento than ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX stations combined for the match between Mexico vs. Costa Rica. Sacramento was also consistently in the top 10 for ESP/ABC Neilson ratings during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. From an economic perspective, a new team will help create new jobs and generate positive media coverage for our community.