Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Polski Chicago

Chicago was a city of immigrants, with several teams springing up as social clubs. Some teams fizzled, some teams prospered. Polski Chicago was a strong team located on the South Side, who combated the American team in the North Side. The Polski team formed in the early 30s, copying the uniform the Polish national team wore in the 1934 World Cup. The team doesn't have much history, but have spent a long time in the top tier of American soccer. Their first title was in 1943, and a US Open cup in 1954. The team had trouble finding sponsors, unlike other teams it connected to a group of people. From 1958 to 1964, the team was relegated. In the early 70s, the team brought in a few players from the 1970s World Cup as they expanded their roster to non Eastern European players. They figured as long as the owners remained in the right hands, then they could still represent Chicago Poles. The team won a US Open in 1973 and a league title in 1974. The owners of Polski were very against the league turning to playoffs to determine a champion, and it shows because that was the last title for the team.

The team continues wearing white and red, throughout their history. The clash is often light blue, but has been navy in recent years. The crest hasn't changed since their inception, which is just the coat of arms of Poland.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Pawtucket Rangers

The rangers are another storied team in US Soccer. Founded in 1900, the team played for 33 seasons before the APL realigned. They were another major get by the early founders of the league. A Scottish-American bought the team, and dressed them up like the Glasgow based Rangers FC. The team is known for their Rhode Island Red crest, spawned from a tradition similar to the squid at the Red Wings games. Before home games, someone would sneak the rooster in and release it on the field. It became a sign of good luck when they won their first league title in 1952. Pawtucket won their first US Open in 1962. The team was hurt by the expansion of the league to bigger markets, and couldn't bring in good players. 1967 was their first relegation, but bounced back the next year. From 1980-1987, the team played in the 2nd division. The team made a miraculous run to the US Open title in 1987, the again in 1998. The team spent the majority of the 2000s in League 2, with some brief stints in the top league. They were promoted last season, but are projected to finish near the bottom of the league.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Fall River Marksmen

Fall River has one of the oldest teams in the country. Originally formed in 1922, the team survived the Great Depression, and battled teams like Bethlehem, and Providence over their history. Fall River was a part of the small leagues of the early 1930s. With the small amount of teams, the Marksmen went on to win the league in 1935, 38, and 39. In addition, the US Open Cup in 1936 and 38. Their last league title was in 1947. Fall River is half way between Boston and Providence, who drew the fans and players away. After League 2 started in 1955, the team was relegated the first year. After a few years down, then up in 1961-63. The team managed to go up to the APL in 1974 and stayed up for 16 years, which helped them gain some exposure year after year. A new 18,000 seat stadium also helped. But then a 14 year spell in League 2 and 3 from 1991 to 2006 ruined all progress. The team is almost always in the talk to be relegated, and last were in League 2 as late as last season. A first place finish in 2014 has lead to the two Rhode Island teams to be playing in the top tier again, just like old times.

Their logo has remained the same since 1922. Their traditional Where's Waldo hoops have been used since also.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Brooklyn Wanderers

The last team of the New York trifecta of teams is one of the oldest teams in the country. The team has formed and folded several times, but there hasn't been a season without the Brooklyn Wanderers since 1894. The team has alternated between black and blue in their early years. The team last folded in 1934, but then they reformed in 1935 with black and blue stripes. That version has been in existence since. Made up of mostly inner city immigrants, the Wanderers won the league in 1937. Brooklyn broke up Queens Park's dominance with another title in 1944. The two teams have the fiercest rivalry in the country currently. Another title in 1944 and 1948. The US Open title in 49 and 53 added to the early trophy collection. The team won league titles in 1954 and 1960, starting an era of being the only team in the burrough. The team got new owners in 1963, but they were relegated for the first time in 1965. The promotion in 1967 made everyone believe in the future. But the owner was arrested for mafia connections, and the next decade was hard on the team. They fell all the way to the 3rd level of US Soccer. An Italian American stockbroker who had seen the team in hardship decided to buy the team because there was such a return investment. His team went ahead and did that, and the team won the 3rd league's title the following year. Another promotion the next year meant Brooklyn was ready to compete in the top league for the first time in 10 years. The team brought over many Italian players, and the core won a US Open Cup in 1992, two CONCACAF Champions League titles in 92 and 93, then a league title in 1993. The owner stepped down and let his sons control the team. After a rough period from 2001-2004 in the 2nd division, the team got stable footing heading forward. They still compete with Queens Park, and beat them in the US Open Cup title game in 2013. The team's location helps draw fans and players from overseas, something many teams don't have.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

From the Sox Drawer - Charlotte FC

During the end of my Freshman year of college, I got an email while sitting in my friend's dorm. It was from a guy named Ian about teaming up to help him bring a true pro soccer team to Charlotte. At that time, the city had the 3rd tier Charlotte Eagles, who was owned by a Christian mission company, and didn't really commit to bringing soccer to Charlotte. The idea was to buy them, then put soccer people in charge and build from there. He wanted something simple, with a rampart lion, and some crowns. I came up with this as a first draft.

It was on from there. 

Since we had an initial brand, he did all the dirty work, trying to find investors. I focused on making this the best logo I had ever made. We moved from yellow center, to a white center, and an original crown.

It was my first attempt at a real brand. I made tons of t-shirt mock ups


Photoshops for billboards

and graphics for a possible video.

I even mocked up a stadium, which you'll see below. After a while, I was told that a richer team came in and was outbidding us. The Charlotte Independence is the result from that. We never got off the ground, and I never saw a single cent from the the whole thing. I did take a lot out of it, and had fun doing it.

Charlotte Memorial Stadium Renovation

 Continuing from the post above, during the discussions the site of Charlotte's Memorial Stadium was tossed around as a great starter for the club. The stadium was built in the mid 30s, and isn't in good condition. My partner sent me a pdf an architect proposed to fixing it. I studied it for hours because I love stadium designs. I have messed around in google sketch up, so I had the idea to make the stadium on there. Ian pitched a crown shaped stands, but I figured the best way would be off the side, having several tapered arches, raising each step. Virginia Tech's football stadium is a lot like this. At first, I had the lower bowl, then a larger stands along the sideline. There's limited space, but the initial design is very simple. The open end faces downtown Charlotte, and would be a great venue.

Then I went crazy one day. I wanted it to feel complete. A new mecca of soccer. So from there, I filled in the bowl, added luxury suites between the lower and upper part. I had ramps, stores, and the surrounding area included. I spent weeks fine tuning, and it turned out to be a great building, which you can see below.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

King County SC

King County is the class of the Pacific North West, despite being in constant fear of relegation from the top league. 7 Seattle area teams merged in 1956 in an attempt to climb up the US Soccer ladder. The Kings were promoted for the 1961 season, the first stint in the top tier of US Soccer. The team's yellow and blue could be seen all around town, it was the city's first taste of top tier pro sports. They split Sick's Stadium with the Seattle Rainiers, then the Pilots in 1969. During this time, the team won the 1967 and 1970 US Open Cup. After the Pilots moved to Seattle, the team bought the stadium and turned it into a soccer stadium. It was always known for it's wacky sidelines dimensions, but at least the Kings had their own stadium. After that, County had a rough go in the ladder. Relegation in 1972, promotion in 1977. Relegation in 1982 lead to 4 league changes in 10 years. 1991 wasn't all a bad year, they went on to win the USOC as they finished 19th in the APL. Constant relegation almost always lead to promotion, giving opposing fans ammo to annoy the fans of KC. King's was promoted last in 2011, and has averaged 15th spot since then.

The yellow and blue colors influenced both the Pilots and Mariners, their owners figured that the baseball team's could seem like they have more fans if every one in the city was wearing their colors. Since the Mariners rebranded, King County was the only team in the city with those colors. Sick's Stadium now seats 27,000 fans. They have completely renovated the stadium, with press boxes and new locker rooms. The stadium still has old pillars much like Wrigley Field, but the fans still love it.