Discussion of the economic impact of professional soccer in Elk Grove was the last item on the council's agenda, but it was moved up after dozens of youths wearing blue and orange jerseys filed into the chamber, filling the audience seats and standing around the perimeter of the room.
Economic Development Coordinator Heather Neff presented a fiscal impact study showing a professional soccer stadium could leave the city budget in a $5 million deficit, depending on financing options.
"That's the gap we have to fill to keep it revenue neutral," said City Manager Laura Gill, who recommended the council continue negotiating with Northern California Soccer, an ownership group led by former state Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez and Sacramento sports attorney Richard Hyde.
Three people spoke against the costs of a soccer facility during public comment, but players and coaches wearing jerseys of the FC Elk Grove youth soccer program rewarded each speaker supporting the project with applause.
Trent Slagle, a 14-year-old Katherine L. Albiani Middle School student, addressed the council wearing his No. 22 jersey.
"Having a team here would be one of the greatest things to ever happen in my life," he said, choking back tears to an ovation.
Nunez and Hyde addressed the council, speaking of the city's reputation as a "hotbed for soccer activity" and promising a transparent process in pursuing a professional team.
Elk Grove lawmakers expressed caution in their vote to move forward on considering soccer facility project that could include a $100 million arena, according to a feasibility report.
"If we cannot get to a sum zero, it's not something I will support," said Vice Mayor Steven Detrick, who said he coached soccer in Elk Grove.
Elk Grove's plans for a Major League Soccer franchise put the city in competition with Sacramento, which is also in the market for a big-league soccer team.
© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.
Read more articles by Dan Hill
What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com
Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)
Here are some rules of the road:
Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "Report Abuse" link to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.
Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.
Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.
Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand.
Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.
Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.
Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.
Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.
Don't flag other users' comments just because you don't agree with their point of view. Please only flag comments that violate these guidelines.
You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "Report Abuse" link to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.
If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them.