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Mayor: MLS Stadium Could Come to Elk Grove in 2-4 Years

Mayor Jim Cooper said at least one Major League Soccer team has discussed moving to the Elk Grove area.

Aspirations by Elk Grove officials to build a Major League Soccer stadium aren't far-off, unrealistic dreams, Elk Grove Mayor Jim Cooper said Wednesday.

"It's not something 10 years down the road [or] 20 years," Cooper said in an online chat with Sacramento Press. "It's something we can do in the next two, three, four years." 

In June, Cooper and City Manager Laura Gill visited the 20,000-seat Frisco, Texas, stadium that houses the FC Dallas Major League Soccer club. That complex also has 17 adjoining soccer fields that can be used for youth tournaments and other events.

"Frisco, Texas, is similar to Elk Grove in the fact that it's a city that incorporated not too long ago, and it's done a lot of good things for their citizens," Cooper said at the June 27 city council meeting. "And also [it has] a very active constituency of youth sports."

He said a soccer arena in Elk Grove would be paid for by a mix of public and private money, and could house youth soccer tournaments in addition to major league games.

Airfare, food, hotel costs and other expenses for that two-day trip totaled $4,230.80, city spokeswoman Christine Brainerd said.

Cooper has not returned calls from Elk Grove Patch at the time of this posting, nor have officials from FC Dallas, the city of Frisco or Major League Soccer.

Various pundits and news outlets have speculated about the likelihood of a Major League Soccer team coming to the Sacramento and Elk Grove area, and in Wednesday's Sacramento Press chat, Cooper said he's held talks with an unnamed Major League Soccer team about relocating to Elk Grove.

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber said in 2011 that he wants to see the league's 20th team added in New York, and envisions the 21st and 22nd teams being created in this decade.

Meanwhile, the city of Sacramento is continuing to explore the possibility of building a new arena, and Mayor Kevin Johnson's Think Big Sacramento initiative currently has its sights set on luring a Major League Baseball team.

The Oakland A's have said they aren't interested in moving to Sacramento, and local pundits like "Carmichael Dave" Weiglein say that's not likely to fly.

“I have a lot more confidence in the region's ability to support an MLS team than I do a baseball team," Carmichael Dave said in a separate web chat with Sacramento Press.

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Do you think a Major League Soccer team could and should come to Elk Grove? Would a professional soccer arena help the city? Tell us in the comments.

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Michael Landers July 18, 2012 at 10:19 PM
This would be awesome. I approve!
Tom Brown July 19, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Is it something in the Sac County water? What's up with these Mayors all wanting to build arenas / stadiums with taxpayer $$$?
Jonathan Stein July 19, 2012 at 02:03 PM
MLS is adding a 20th team in NY. Its the Cosmos who are starting in the NASL. If the Cosmos, one of the most famous clubs in the world, and the former home of such stars as Pele, Beckenbauer, Messing, Chinaglia, Roth, has to start in NASL, what makes anyone think that MLS is going to just let Elk Grove get an MLS club? So there are 19 clubs. 20 will be the Cosmos. 21 and 22 are not coming for at least 5 years, which makes Cooper's timetable off. That means they don't think they are going to get a new team. That leaves the existing teams. 16 of the 19 teams either have a soccer specific stadium that has been built recently or are in the process of building one, a la San Jose. So lets discuss the three teams that are left. Seattle - there is no chance the most popular club in MLS is going to relocate away from one of the hotbeds of American soccer. Its just not happening. New England - owned by Robert Kraft, the owner of the Patriots and a big soccer supporter. Unless the Patriots are moving to Sacramento, there is no way Kraft, a New Englander, is going to move away the Revolution. DC United - one of the original clubs and a contender to get a soccer specific stadium in DC. MLS is not going to leave the country's capital to come to Elk Grove. So, despite what the Mayor says, there are no teams for relocation. Oh, and Frisco hosts a major youth soccer tournament every year and is a suburb of Dallas, not Sacramento. Its not even close to the same.
CJ July 19, 2012 at 02:19 PM
The addition of an arena for MLS and a team located here would provide a much-needed boost to the Elk Grove economy. From construction jobs initially, to other jobs later as well as boosts to retail outlets, hotel development, etc. I think this is a great step for Elk Grove to explore.
Summer Hemphill July 19, 2012 at 03:15 PM
It takes a lot of balls to advocate bringing MLS soccer to Elk Grove,but you need only one ball to play ! Hire the handicapped !
Tom Brown July 19, 2012 at 03:30 PM
I'm pretty sure that was Stockton's argument to build a stadium, arena and new City Hall.
patchreader July 19, 2012 at 04:13 PM
It all sounds nice a pretty and wonderful, but the likelihood of any of it happening is low, as said above. Many other larger cities are also trying to lure sports teams. Cities that have more going for them than being a foreclosure hub and a commuter town for a city that is financially flailing. MLS has NO reason to move to Elk Grove. As usual, Cooper is spouting BS to make himself look good for his next election. There is NO chance of a soccer team in Elk Grove. Zero. Zip. Nada. Anyone that thinks so is high as a kite. Cooper wasted taxpayer time and money on his trip and should have to reimburse the taxpayers for it.
Michael Landers July 19, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Ok negative Nancy if you don't like the way the city is run then why don't you get yourself elected and do something about it or move out of the city. Welcome to politics.
Cody Kitaura (Editor) July 19, 2012 at 04:53 PM
For those of you who think there isn't much likelihood of an MLS team coming to Elk Grove, what do you think the city is missing? Would it be easier with more people, more businesses or more soccer fans here?
David Wol July 19, 2012 at 05:14 PM
I thought that MLS teams were privately owned entities. If they are, then let the people who reap any profits pay the costs (full costs) of any stadium. Politicians are in office for a few years. They tend to push projects that cost communities quite a bit (bad timing since we cannot even afford to maintain good schools) and then they are out of office. The communities are left holding the bag, paying the bills, or, like Stockton, going bankrupt.
JJ Johnson July 19, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Same to you. Your first comment was that you approve of bringing soccer to Elk Grove. If you don't think it's going to happen with the current council, run for office and make changes.
JJ Johnson July 19, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Who are you? Identify yourself. I'm sure it doesn't say "patchreader" on your driver's license.
patchreader July 19, 2012 at 07:57 PM
To JJ- Why do you care who I am? If you want to debate what I wrote, debate away. Who I am does not change what I wrote, nor should it change your mind. Who I am isn't part what is being discussed. I can make up some name like "Bruce Williamson" but then how do you know that's who I REALLY am?
David Wol August 16, 2012 at 09:48 PM
As far as I know, a Major League Soccer team would be privately owned. All profits would go to the private owner. It would seem logical, especially with all the budget shortfalls, that the expense of a stadium designed to benefit a privately owned enterprise should be paid for IN FULL by private funds. Not one single tax dollar should be used for this privately owned enterprise.
John Shea January 10, 2013 at 06:08 PM
It cost $4,230.80 for a two day trip to Dallas for two? WOW! Also... it'd be awesome to have a local MLS team. But... people didn't exactly flock to the semi-pro team Sacramento had, so I'm cautious about attendance for a MLS team here. That said, I'd be in line for season tickets though.

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