Women's soccer team relocates to Elk Grove

Published: Tuesday, Apr. 2, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 2B
Last Modified: Tuesday, Apr. 2, 2013 - 7:54 am

The California Storm, one of the pioneering teams of the Women's Premier Soccer League, is moving to Elk Grove.

The team, based in Sacramento, will begin playing at Cosumnes Oaks High School on May 1, according to Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis and team officials.

Davis said the relocation will give momentum to the city's attempts to finance a stadium and land a men's Major League Soccer team.

"I couldn't be more thrilled that the California Storm has decided to call Elk Grove home," Davis said in a press release. "Elk Grove is a hotbed for soccer, with the largest youth soccer program in the entire United States."

The Elk Grove City Council voted on March 14 to explore building a soccer stadium on 120 acres, which could cost up to $100 million, and hunting for a major league team. An investor group led by former state Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez and Sacramento sports attorney Richard Hyde signed an exclusive agreement in December 2011 to pave the way for the franchise and stadium.

"The city of Elk Grove is actively pursuing land for a potential soccer stadium site while also negotiating … for the financing of a stadium," Davis said. "The next two to three months will be critical in our effort to house a Major League Soccer team in Elk Grove."

The WPSL is an independent national league formed in 1998, and is sanctioned by the U.S. Adult Soccer Association and the U.S. Soccer Federation. Jerry Zanelli, head coach of the California Storm and league commissioner, originally founded the league with six teams, and today the league has grown to more than 70 teams nationwide.

Call The Bee's Anne Gonzales, (916) 321-1049. Follow her in Twitter @AnneGonzo.

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