Wednesday December 6, 2023

As Sports Teams Exit Bay Area, Pro Soccer Gains Notable Win

  • The Oakland Roots, a USL soccer club, will negotiate with the city on a new stadium.
  • No MLS or NWSL team plays in either Oakland or San Francisco right now.
USL Championship side Oakland Roots home soccer field
Oakland Roots
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The outlook for pro sports in Oakland has seemed bleaker than any other American city for a while now.

The dire state of the Oakland Coliseum has pushed the A’s to join the Raiders in fleeing the Bay Area in favor of Las Vegas, while the Golden State Warriors are now thriving in San Francisco after ditching their Oakland arena in 2019.

However, one pro sport is finally gaining momentum in the city. The Oakland Roots soccer club, which currently competes at the top level of the USL, has taken a key step toward building a soccer-specific stadium.

The team will enter an exclusive negotiating agreement with the city and Alameda County that could result in a new 10,000-seat stadium on nearly 9 acres of parking lot property near the Coliseum. The stadium is targeted to open in 2025 and would also host the Oakland Soul — the Roots’ women’s club that plays in the USL W League.

Financial details are unknown, but the Roots recently raised more than $2 million from a crowdfunding campaign offering fans equity in the team.

Future MLS Rival?

A new Oakland soccer stadium would also be a positive sign for the USL as the league seeks first-division status from U.S. Soccer, aiming to rivaling MLS with potential European-style promotion and relegation.

There is no MLS team in Oakland or San Francisco — the league’s San Jose Earthquakes represent the league’s only footprint near the Bay Area. NWSL expansion team Bay FC will play at the Earthquakes’ PayPal Park in its inaugural 2024 season.

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