Sacramento Republic FC is one of the top feel-good stories in the past few years of American professional soccer, but some of the luster has been lost over the last 24 hours.
By no means does that mean the shine will not return — you can’t fake Sacramento’s support for soccer — but bickering owners have caused much consternation over one city’s Major League Soccer bid.
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Twelve groups bid for teams in the latest round of MLS expansion, and Sacramento was one of them. The problem? The Republic name was not attached, as it’s owned by team founder Warren Smith. Smith does not have a good relationship with main investor and expansion bid leader Kevin Nagle.
Less than 24 hours after the bid was formally submitted, representatives of Republic FC charged that lead investor Kevin Nagle violated his agreement with the club by applying for the MLS franchise without using the Republic brand. Nagle, however, said he doesn’t control the rights to the Republic brand, hasn’t been able to negotiate an agreement with team founder Warren Smith on the sale of the brand, and had to submit the bid Tuesday in order to meet MLS’ deadline.
It’s easy to get bogged down in personal drama, and it seems inevitable that Smith and Nagle will come to terms with the fact that their beef will not be respected by Sacramento soccer fans if it gets in the way of what many have called a ‘slam dunk’ expansion bid (especially with both Sacramento’s mayor and MLS hierarchy involved in the move).
Get it sorted, fellas.