Jill Ellis, the NWSL expansion team slated to move from Sacramento to San Diego, is still involved, according to the report
The NWSL expansion team that was headed to Sacramento could instead head south to San Diego. According to Meg Linehan Jeff Rueter of The Athletic, the ownership group, led by businessman Ron Burkle, has enough support from the NWSL Board of Governors to approve a change in territorial rights from Sacramento to San Diego.
The Sacramento expansion team was originally announced by Commissioner Lisa Baird during the NWSL draft in January. Baird said both Sacramento and the new Los Angeles expansion team Angel City FC would officially join the league and begin the game in 2022. However, there were never any further announcements about the Sacramento team. There wasn’t a word about additional owners, team name or logo while Angel City FC was already off.
The reason for this could be related to the MLS expansion team in Sacramento that Burkle paired with his NWSL expansion team. Burkle retired as the majority owner of the MLS expansion team in February, citing “problems with the project related to COVID-19”. With no MLS team (and no stadium of its own) in Sacramento, the status of the Sacramento expansion team was unknown to the NWSL.
Now we know why. Burkle, who owns land in San Diego, was reportedly trying to plan a move from Sacramento to San Diego.
Jill Ellis still seems to be involved
Ellis, the former UWSNT coach who left the team in July 2019, has been linked with both Sacramento expansion teams since January 2021, which was never officially announced. Despite the breakdown of the MLS expansion team and the NWSL team’s move to San Diego, The Athletic reported that Ellis has stayed in her position.
Ellis’ involvement could prevent panic over the move and the now compressed timeline. There are concerns that this yet-to-be-announced team will kick off the game in the 2022 season, which is barely a year away. There are also potential set-up issues with the team that is said to play its games at the University of San Diego’s Torero Stadium, where it has to share the stadium with multiple teams.
The athlete reported that Ellis’ presence “might allay some of these concerns”.
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