Just weeks after Los Angeles was announced as the home of the National Women’s Soccer League’s 11th team, the league is reportedly going to add a 12th in Sacramento.
According to The Athletic, the team will be backed by the ownership group of Sacramento Republic FC. The deal was finalized last week, and the team is slated to debut in 2021 or 2022.
Reports first surfaced in October 2019 that Sacramento Republic FC was in talks with the NWSL to launch a new team as early as 2020.
Racing Louisville FC had also announced a 2021 start date to become the league’s 10th team; Angel City, the tentative name for the Los Angeles team, is set to join in 2022.
If a Sacramento team were to join in 2021, that would leave the NWSL with an odd number of teams as it waits for Angel City, which could complicate its schedule.
Republic FC is scheduled to move from the USL to MLS in 2023, a year delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The team also has a new soccer-specific stadium in the pipeline that would likely be used for the women’s team as well, but construction is yet to begin.
Film producer Matt Alvarez is the Sacramento owner leading the proposed NWSL expansion, according to The Athletic. In early August, he told the Sacramento Bee that the ownership group is still “in talks” with the NWSL. The lead investor in the MLS club is Ron Burkle, who also owns the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The NWSL didn’t just successfully execute a bubble tournament that avoided a COVID-19 outbreak — they completed a record-breaking season, landing partners and smashing ratings with new broadcast deals.
“With a world-class venue and inaugural MLS season on the horizon, Sacramento is rising to its rightful place in the national soccer community,” Alvarez said. “We are huge fans of women’s soccer and applaud the efforts of Commissioner (Lisa) Baird, the entire NWSL — teams, players, and investors — for their leadership in elevating the beautiful game once again. We’re excited to continue our conversations with league leadership as we explore the possibilities of adding to the rich history of women’s soccer in this region.”
Angel City made a splash with its July 21 announcement, gaining 25,000 Twitter followers within a week. The team is backed by an ownership group that includes Natalie Portman, Julie Uhrman and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, among others.