Elk Grove Mayor Jim Cooper said the city has held talks with a Major League Soccer team about moving to the Sacramento region, and said that a stadium could be built within four years.
"Without going too much in-dept, there have been discussions, I’ll say that, with an MLS team," Cooper said during his live chat with The Sacramento Press Wednesday.
Elk Grove is in the process of conducting a feasibility study, and the mayor recently visited Frisno, Texas, to learn more about that city’s soccer facilities.
Cooper said his plan is to bring the team to Elk Grove through a public-private partnership. The city would be open to using bonds to help finance a deal, but would not spend any “public money” directly.
MLS officials have indicated that the league is focused on adding another team in New York and then possibly one in the southeast – but haven’t commented on the possibility of an existing team moving to the Sacramento region.
Last week, Dan Courtemanche, MLS’s vice president of communication, said that the league is interested in Sacramento and sees the area has having a potentially strong fan base for an MLS team.
Cooper agreed with that sentiment, and cited Sacramento’s (and Elk Grove’s) diverse population and vibrant youth soccer system as indicators that a team could be successful in the region.
When asked about the prospect of a soccer stadium being constructed in Sacramento’s downtown railyards instead, he said he felt that Elk Grove already has a head start in pursuing an MLS team and that he hopes to have the city of Sacramento’s support in the effort.
After the live interview, Cooper said league officials have helped him and that he has the support of powerful private backers, including Fabian Nuñez, who has been involved in the effort to bring a team to Elk Grove since last year, according to The Sacramento Bee.