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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 Hughes Stadium for 10th season anniversary


As car horns beeped and traffic barged through the surrounding streets, over 20,000 eager fans flooded into City College’s Hughes Stadium to watch Sacramento Republic FC play against Orange County SC on Saturday, Aug. 26. 

The televised event was highly celebrated as it had been 10 seasons since Hughes hosted a Republic FC game, being the site of the local team’s first four home matches back in 2014. And according to the Republic FC homepage, “The site of the club’s very first home match in 2014 — made for an unreal environment.” 

The 95-year-old stadium has been around since 1928, and has hosted a multitude of ultra-famous artists: Pink Floyd, The Jackson Five, Carlos Santana and Willie Nelson all performed on the very field Republic FC played on, and each event built layers of recognition and credibility for City College. 

City College Athletic Coordinator Paul Carmazzi explained that although each Republic FC game held at Hughes Stadium brought success and good press for the college, he recognized the team’s performances there brought widespread interest and support beyond the campus. 

“The success of the initial games that were played at Hughes 10 years ago helped spark a great interest for professional soccer in Sacramento,” Carmazzi stated. 

After 10 long years of waiting, locals sat in anticipation for the team’s return. While the clock counted down to game time, attendees constantly flowed through the stadium and the vibrations of thousands of bustling feet were felt beneath the floor.

Members of the Tower Bridge Battalion bring the noise at Hughes Stadium as they eagerly wait for the game to start Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023. Photo credit: Manuel Figueroa / [email protected]

The event included several food trucks, fireworks displays and — as a surprise to attendees from the California Highway Patrol — a helicopter that soared into the venue to drop in the game ball. Red Republic FC flags waved from every corner of the stadium and soccer balls soared through the sky as the two teams warmed up on the turf below. 

A California Highway Patrol helicopter hovers over the field to drop the game ball at Hughes Stadium Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023. Photo credit: Manuel Figueroa / [email protected]

The Sacramento team started with possession and played tirelessly against their opponents, getting inches away from scoring multiple goals in the first 10 minutes. A third of the way through the first half, a Sacramento player was injured and the crowd, hoping for his quick recovery, performed a stadium-wide wave in the spirit of encouragement. 

“It’s all about the fans. If we’re not the best in the country, I don’t know who is,” Mayor Darrell Steinberg told reporters as he proudly peered down at the audience. 

Although Republic FC did not score in the first half, fans remained vigilant and supportive, cheering for their home team and cursing the referees whenever they attempted to foul a Sacramento player. 

The second half started with an even score of 0-0 and in the first few minutes, Sacramento goalie Danny Vitiello blocked a speedy shot from Orange County. A few minutes later Orange County striker Thomas Amang scored a goal, putting the first point of the night up on the scoreboard. 

The final goal of the night was made by Orange County midfielder Seth Casiple, which ended the game with a score of 2-0 in favor of Orange County. Although Republic FC didn’t take home a win, they left with the support of City College as they commemorated 10 years of history at Hughes Stadium. 

Sacramento Republic FC attempts a corner kick set piece in the final minutes of the match at Hughes Stadium Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023. Photo credit: Manuel Figueroa / [email protected]

“The Sacramento City College staff and faculty has definitely made a difference in the success of the SRFC and has given Sacramento City College positive national exposure,” stated Carmazzi, thinking back on the game. “We look forward to having the opportunity to host similar events in the future.”

Republic FC’s next home game will take place at Heart Health Park on Saturday, Sept. 16. 

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