Republic FC loses home opener before sellout crowd at Hughes Stadium

For Barbara Jahn, Republic FC’s historic and festive home debut in front of a sellout crowd of more than 20,000 at Hughes Stadium on Saturday night offered a nice bonus.

Her son and daughter played key roles in the inaugural match, which Republic FC lost 2-1 to the Harrisburg (Pa.) City Islanders.

Adam Jahn started at forward for Republic FC, just a few days after being loaned out by the Earthquakes of Major League Soccer. He scored the franchise’s first home goal on a back-post header from a free kick by Max Alvarez 32 minutes into the game that tied the score 1-1.

Erica Jahn oversaw ticket distribution in helping to marshal the wave of fans who poured through the stadium gates well before the 7:30 p.m. start.

“It’s the best of both worlds for us,” said Barbara Jahn, a Davis resident. “Erica’s working real hard helping with ticket sales, and we get to see Adam play so close to home.

“But I’m just as excited for the organization. It’s exciting to see such a large show of support for the sport in Sacramento.”

Though Barbara Jahn has coached women’s swimming for 29 years at UC Davis, she said her athletic children gravitated to soccer after participating in a number of sports, including swimming, growing up.

Adam Jahn starred at Jesuit High School and Stanford before being drafted by the Earthquakes last season, when he appeared in 22 matches and scored four goals.

But with veterans Chris Wondolowski, Aaron Gordon and Steven Lenhart healthy and Republic FC in need of a forward with hamstring injuries to Justin Braun and Mike Fucito, Jahn suddenly found himself playing in front of a hometown audience.

Mom couldn’t have been happier.

“Adam likes to cook, and he’s really good at it,” Barbara said. “We ate well the last few nights.”

Erica Jahn, who played soccer at St. Francis High School and Redlands, put in countless hours in the final days to help Republic FC reach its ambitious goal of a sellout of 20,231. It nearly doubled the USL Pro regular-season attendance record of 10,687.

One of her clients was Patty Moore, a board member of the Sacramento-based Capital Valley United soccer club. Her club brought more than 175 players, parents and club supporters to the match, largely thanks to Erica and Republic FC goalkeeper Dominik Jakubek.

“Erica’s done a great job of hooking up the team with the soccer clubs,” said Moore, a Foothill Farms resident. “And we know Dominik. He trains and coaches our players. He’s great at working with the kids.”

Moore was among hundreds in lines that snaked around the stadium waiting for the gates to open at 5:30 p.m. Hundreds more checked out the food trucks, beer garden and face painters while enjoying live music.

“I think this just shows that a lot of people in Sacramento will support pro soccer,” said Moore, who has been involved in youth soccer for 24 years. “It’s a great family environment. It’s great for our kids to be a part of.”

Kevin Goldthwaite was impressed, proud and a little envious of the atmosphere.

“I never played professionally in Sacramento,” said Goldthwaite, a former Christian Brothers star who played seven seasons with five MLS teams. “I’m very jealous. I wish I could be on the field right now.”

Goldthwaite works in commercial real estate and was doing a live stream broadcast of the match.

“I’m thrilled for Sacramento – I get chills for this,” he said. “It shows the appetite for soccer.

“With 20,000 people showing up for the game, it’s going to give Sacramento a lot of credibility when you start talking about MLS.”

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