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.
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.