The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Sacramento Republic FC returns to City College
Fans packed into Hughes Stadium for the Sacramento Republic FC game against Harrisburg City Islanders on April 26, 2014. Kristopher Hooks // [email protected]

Kristopher Hooks | Sports Editor | [email protected]

Another possible sellout game in the works at Hughes Stadium

United Soccer League champion Sacramento Republic FC will be returning to Charles C. Hughes Stadium Feb. 28 to play an exhibition match against the 2013 North American Soccer League champion New York Cosmos.

The match will be the first time the Republic has played at City College since the beginning of its inaugural 2014 season. The team opened up that season with four home games at Hughes Stadium while their stadium — Bonney Field — was being built.

In three of their four matches at Hughes Stadium, the team played in front of sold-out crowds of more than 20,000 people. The matches allowed a boost in revenue for City College sports programs, which received 50 percent of the parking revenue, according to City College Athletic Director Mitch Campbell.

“That’s all a part of our concessions and parking that we do all year long,” said City College Athletic Director Mitch Campbell. “[The money] all goes in to one big pot, and they all get compensated for their time.”

According to Campbell, the parking system will be the same as last year except for one difference. There will be no parking availability in the lot adjacent to the City College light rail station because the lot is currently being used for construction.

However, there will be a free bike valet service, which will allow people to ride their bikes to the games and have them locked up. Visitors can also take the light rail to the match, a free service to students with valid I.D.

According to Republic Vice President of Marketing and Communication Erika Bjork, the variety of transportation options made City College appealing for Republic matches.

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Much like last season, the Republic’s home pitch is currently under construction. Bonney Field at Cal Expo is undergoing a 3,000-seat expansion, going from 8,000 seats to 11,000, in hopes of helping the team’s bid to join Major League Soccer.

Bonney Field’s expansion will undergo two phases of construction before the start of the regular season, according to Bjork. The first phase — installing seats behind the north goal — was finished Feb. 20. The second phase — installing seats behind the south goal — is scheduled to be finished Feb. 28.

Although experts point out that it’s not an ideal stadium because of the narrowness of the field — its dimensions are for football, not soccer — Hughes Stadium allows the team and its fans to experience the potential of what a possible 20,000-seat downtown stadium would be like.

The matchup will be the first time the Republic faces a NASL opponent. The Cosmos have a storied history in North American soccer. They won five championships in the original NASL, and most recently won the 2013 championship in the revived NASL.

“A matchup between these two championship clubs will not only provide fans a potential new rivalry but an opportunity for each club respectively to prepare for their upcoming season,” said Republic FC technical Director Graham Smith in a press release.

The game is expected to be another sellout with more than 20,000 in attendance. With the stadium packed and a great game being played, it gives City College and Hughes stadium a chance to show its full potential in accommodating major events.

“We were put in a real positive light and proved that we can host large-scale events,” said Campbell. “It was good to see Hughes full, and it will be great to see it full again.”

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