When the Sacramento Republic move into the new downtown Railyards Stadium for their debut MLS season in 2022, a new lead tenant will take over 11,500 seat Papa Murphy’s Park at Cal Expo: the California Storm women’s team. The question now is whether they will be competing in the professional National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) when they do.
Signs are suggesting the answer is, yes. The Storm organization currently is part of the second tier Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) and has been highly successful, but recently added former USWNT stars Leslie Osborne and Brandi Chastain, as well as Brazilian legend Sissi to the team’s Board of Directors, as well as filing trademark registrations. This points to bigger ambitions.
They also have the backing of Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who said at a recent City Council meeting, “Building off of the Major League Soccer excitement, I believe our city has another once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — let’s bring women’s professional soccer to Sacramento. We are all currently working on it together, and, personally, if and when we are collectively successfully, this is something, I believe, will truly be another game-changer for Sacramento.”
There would still be many hurdles to cross before an NWSL franchise is awarded but being backed by the Mayor and being an affiliate of the Sacramento Republic organization certainly puts them in a strong position. We’ll be following this story closely in the coming months.