The Sacramento Republic FC has bolstered its quest to become a Major League Soccer franchise. On Monday the team announced an impressive addition of more than a dozen new business leaders who will invest in the group, including Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter and local business owner Urijah Faber.
According to the news release on the team’s website, the investments are contingent on MLS granting expansion rights to the club.
The soccer team’s lead investor, Kevin Nagle, said the financial star power will “bolster the the profile and financial strength of our ownership group, getting us closer toward our goal of a Major League Soccer franchise.”
MLS representatives visited Sacramento in mid-September, not long before the Republic won the USL PRO Championship with a victory over the Harrisburg City Islanders in front of a soldout crowd at Bonney Field. Owners are adding two cities to make the league 24 teams, with Sacramento and Minneapolis considered leading contenders. Las Vegas and San Antonio are also vying for admission. An announcement is expected in December.
Faber, the 35-year-old graduate of Lincoln High School and UC Davis, made his MMA debut in 2003, went on to win the World Extreme Cagefighting Featherweight championship in 2006 and debuted in the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2011. In 2012, he published a book, Urijah Faber, The California Kid: The Laws of the Ring.
Besides Faber, the list announced Monday includes Mark Friedman, president and founder of Fulcrum Properties; Dave Lucchetti, president of Pacific Coast Building Products; Phil Oates, chairman of Buzz Oates Group of Companies; and the Benvenuti Family Trust.
Also joining the group are Dale Carlsen, founder and CEO of Sleep Train; Jonna (founder and CEO of Visionary Integration Professionals) and Roger Ward; Brad Jenkins, founder of 01 Communications; Dr. Aaron Reeves, founder Kids Care Dental; Scott Powell, Sacramento Jet Center; Lisa Parker, business executive and philanthropist; and real estate developer Ken Fahn.
The investors join Nagle, Warren Smith, the team’s co-founder and president, and developer Larry Kelley in the ownership group.
In a statement from the team, Warren Smith said the investors believe “not just in the club, but in Sacramento.”
“Their names are synonymous with the region,” Smith said, “and each is dedicated to expanding our community’s sports and entertainment options.”
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It should come as no surprise that the world’s sport has finally been embraced (some may say possessed) by America’s most diverse city. More than 14,000 people — a sellout crowd — attended Sacramento’s inaugural soccer match between the English Premiere League’s Norwich City F.C. and Mexico’s Dorados De Sinaloa. The match provided a glimpse of what is to come when the branding for Sacramento’s very own professional outdoor soccer club, Sacramento Republic FC, is unveiled.