Sacramento Republic FC Want Papa Murphy’s Park to be a “Horrible Place” to Play
Last season, the Sacramento Republic FC enjoyed just one night of fans in the stands at Papa Murphy’s Park. The home opener on March 7th against Tulsa FC featured pre-match pyrotechnics and the usual rowdy crowd, ready to begin a new season. Little did they know the match would be the only one they would be able to attend that year.
After a long, COVID-adjusted 2020, featuring one of the longest offseasons in the history of American soccer, the Republic are looking forward to inviting fans back to Papa Murphy’s Park, starting with the club’s home opener against Las Vegas Lights FC on May 12th.
However, Sacramento head coach Mark Briggs has a very specific request for returning fans.
“We need you. We need the atmosphere to be bouncing…making (Papa Murphy’s Park) a horrible place to come. We need the fans to be on the opposition, to be booing the opposition. We need to make Papa Murphy’s as hostile as it possibly can be and a horrible place to come. When we score, when we are doing well, we need it to be the loudest place in California.”
From day one of training camp, Briggs has preached a “Sacramento vs the world” mindset for his players to rally behind. He has expressed a desire for the club to create a reputation of being “nasty” and “physical” on the pitch.
The early eye test at training camp shows that this upgraded roster has the capability of carrying out their coach’s wish, unafraid of the high expectations from the city, or the “villain” label that comes with playing the way they do.
“We embrace it. Come on. That’s it, we ready,” said defender Jordan McCrary, who is known for his trash-talking, “There are a lot of people that are going to try to look at us one way or another, but if you are surprised it means you don’t understand what’s coming”.
Briggs admitted playing with that kind of attitude and aggressiveness invites a lot of pressure, especially for a club that has publicly declared its intentions to win the USL Cup.
But how you deal with that pressure is what separates the amateurs from the pros of USL soccer.
“That’s part of playing for Sacramento Republic,” said Briggs, “If you can’t handle pressure you shouldn’t be in this profession. If you’re a player and you’re not excited to play in front of our fans, you’re in the wrong business.”
As for the teams coming into Sacramento to play?
“I want them to hate it.”