NWSL Sacramento expansion team reportedly in talks to move to San Diego


A new chapter in the Sacramento NWSL expansion saga appears to be unfolding.

The Athletic’s Meg Linehan is reporting that Sacramento’s ownership group is moving closer to securing a deal with the NWSL to transfer the rights to San Diego.

American billionaire Ron Burkle, along with the rest of the prospective expansion team’s ownership, is said to have pitched the move to the NWSL Board of Governors.

If approved, the team would join the league in 2022, as previously planned.

Linehan reports that the new San Diego plan includes using Torero Stadium, a University of San Diego facility, as the team’s temporary home until they can construct another arena.

Potential relocation is the latest development in a series of twists and turns from the expansion team.

The prospect of a Sacramento club has been percolating since 2019. Ownership was originally shooting for a 2020 start date, an ambition that never came to fruition.

Instead, NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird announced in early 2021 that Sacramento would join Angel City FC in the 2022 expansion draft. Following the league’s statement, there was no real public follow-up from Sacramento.

Then in February 2021, Ron Burkle announced that he would not be following through with an MLS expansion team in Sacramento, a complement to his NWSL bid. The failed MLS plan was an early sign of trouble for the soon-to-be NWSL team.

With the possible move to San Diego on the table, the NWSL will face questions about the state of expansion in the league and how facility standards will factor into future investment decisions.