Sacramento’s new pro soccer team holds training camp at CRC


Stephan Starnes

Sacramento Republic FC held their first scrimmage against Sacramento State University at CRC on Feb. 25.

Zach Hannigan, Staff Writer

While Sacramento’s new professional soccer team waits to see if a new sports facility at Cal Expo will be there home, it was Cosumnes River College that provided a place for the team to hold their first training camp on Feb.17-21.

The Republic FC reached out to CRC about using the campus’s new soccer facilities and paid to use them under the school’s rental terms, said Republic FC President Warren Smith.

“CRC made significant improvements to their playing fields and they have some beautiful, beautiful fields,” Smith said. “And it’s [CRC] in the city of Sacramento, so it’s a great location and we wanted to be as close to the Sacramento core as possible.”

The team was running two-a-days during their training camp in preparation for their preseason games, which started with a friendly match against Sacramento State University on Tuesday.

That match and training camp will not be the only time CRC harbors the Republic. The team was issued a permit to use the facilities, which includes the fields, locker rooms and a portable classroom, from mid-February to mid-September, said CRC Vice President of Administrative services and Student Support Cory Wathen.

“In addition to the standard facility use fee, the agreement includes improvements to the CAC locker room facility, which will benefit our athletes over the next several years,” Wathen said.

The Republic will use CRC as their practice facility, while they develop long-term or permanent facilities, Wathen said.

Payers seemed to have enjoyed their time at CRC and echoed the words of their president.

“They [the fields] are amazing. I think the college is doing a phenomenal job, a favor for us actually, keeping the fields in great shape,” said midfielder Rodrigo Lopez, who was the first player signed by the Republic. “That’s something that a good team needs, day in and day out, practicing on good facilities, having some locker rooms, somewhere to change before practice and chat a bit.”

Another midfielder, Ross Middlemiss, who has yet to sign a contract with the Republic, said the “fields are some of the best in the area” and that it’s “a privilege to play on them.”

CRC is not the only school in the Los Rios Community College District that has a relationship with the newly-formed Republic FC.

The team has been in dialogue with district leaders to use Hughes Stadium at Sacramento City College, Smith said.

If the proposed Cal Expo sports facility is not finished in time, the franchise will have their inaugural home opener at SCC on April 26, according to an article on the team’s website.

While the facilities that the Republic have used at CRC and will use at SCC are considered top notch, it is the community that Lopez said he is happy with.

“I love it. The moment I was welcomed to the team I felt at home. A lot of good people, starting from the top in the office to the coaching staff and the players. It’s an environment you want to be around,” he said.

The Republic will continue to gear up for their inaugural season, but Lopez looked back on training camp one last time.

“This week was a little bit of a hell week, a tough week for us, but in the modern game you need that and personally I think it’s going to help me a lot as well,” Lopez said.

It may have been a “hell week” on the bodies and minds of the players, but for a community that helped provide CRC with the fields, it may have been a week in Paradise.

“Obviously the community invested in their [CRC’s] fields,” Smith said. “This was a way for them to provide the community with a return.”

Wathen said the campus is happy to have the team practicing at CRC, mentioning that the Republic’s selection of CRC as a practice facility, “speaks to the quality of our fields and our commitment to support community events.”

Stephan Starnes contributed to this article