The Sacramento Business Journal reports that this Wednesday the Elk Grove City Council will be asked to begin identifying up to 120 acres of land that could be purchased for construction of pro soccer stadium.
On the one hand, this is a great long term development for soccer in the area but the goal of the group behind it, Northern California Soccer LLC, is to bring in a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion franchise.
A noble cause but something of a pipe dream – something akin to thinking that just because you build a racetrack, you’re going to get a NASCAR race. MLS wants expansion cities with a fan base that have shown they are willing to PAY to see soccer – as shown by the likes of Seattle and Portland – not just somewhere that has a lot of kids that PLAY soccer.
The current second-tier North American Soccer League (NASL) was also mentioned in the story, which would make more sense for Elk Grove, but given the recent co-operation agreement between MLS and third-tier United Soccer League (USL) Pro, it leaves the future prospects for the NASL on a shaky footing.
The Elk Grove plan also seems to be at odds with Warren Smith and partners, who have already lined up a USL Pro franchise for Sacramento and have chosen to play at Hughes Stadium starting in 2014. This is a college athletics venue not conducive to soccer and to thrive, the team would need a soccer specific stadium sometime in the near future.
So, we have one group building a team and no stadium. Another group building a stadium with no team.
There are plenty of soccer playing 5th graders in Elk Grove who could work out a logical solution…