USL Pro Team Coming to Sacramento, Led by River Cats Co-Founder

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Mayor Johnson (left), with Warren Smith (middle) at the press conference Monday morning announcing the new USL Pro team. (Photo by Benjamin Ormsby)

SACRAMENTO–

Sacramento will be home to a new USL Pro soccer team, officials announced late Monday morning.

Competition won’t start until 2014, although exhibition matches to be held in 2013. A contest will be held to choose a name for the new team.

Team officials are in discussions to hold home games at Sacramento City College’s Hughes Stadium. The 84-year-old stadium was overhauled this year, with artificial turf and other improvements installed.

As officials note, the league chose to expand to the Sacramento-area thanks to the strength of local soccer programs. Many professional soccer players hail from the Sacramento area.

“Today is an exciting day – not only for soccer fans around our region, but also for those who believe fervently in Sacramento’s potential as a vibrant and emerging market,” said Mayor Johnson in a statement.

Currently, there are 13 teams in the USL Pro, with Sacramento being the 14th. The league was founded in 2010, with most teams hailing from the East Coast. One team, Barracuda FC, hails from the Caribbean island Antigua Barbuda.

Warren Smith, a co-founder of the Sacramento River Cats, will lead the new franchise.