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.

Friday, June 19, 2015

St. Louis Athletic

St. Louis at a time was the farthest west the APL went. Started by workers at the Busch brewery, the team was started in 1935, and were playing in the APL for most of the time since. The Saints' first taste of glory came with back to back US Open Cups in 1957 and 58. Often quiet in the early days, St. Louis fell down to the depth of the APL and were relegated in 1977, only to be promoted 2 years later. This shook the owners and fan base and they vowed to never have that happen again. The team won their first league title in 1987, then another in 1996. Since the new millennium, The Saints have been arguably the best team overall. A St. Louis native striker came through the youth system, and immediately raised them to a top tier team. A US Open in 2000, and a league title in 2001 proved that the Saints were legit. After back to back USOC in 05 and 06, the team came close to a Treble in 2010. Their 6th US Open title came weeks after a CONCACAF Champions League title. Since that 2010 Champions League title, the team won it twice more, in 2011 and 2014. They capped off their trophy case with the last two league titles.

St. Louis has always been red and blue, but since their 1995 rebrand they've gone with more of a garnet color.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

1989 World Baseball Cup

The 80s rounded out with a celebration of world baseball in Canada. The games would be the first event played in the new Skydome in Toronto, the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, and BC Place in Vancouver in a baseball configuration.

The Canadians got their automatic bid, which made things easy on them. The results were very similar to the last 12 team tournament in 1985. Italy was finally able to move past the Dutch to qualify for their first tournament. The Italians got approval to get Italian-American baseball players to fill their roster prior to qualifying. The European teams were granted the same waivers, and would lead to a growth in European baseball in the 1990s. Mexico and Taiwan would advance.

The Canadians had their best shot at advancing due to the home fans, and the freezing temperatures outside. They opened the Skydome with a 3-1 win over Mexico. The top 8 would advance to the next round, and group A all tied in those rankings. It had to go to a tie breaker to decide the Dominicans would win the group. Cuba killed Group B competition, scoring 29 runs in 3 games, and leading to a 1st overall seed. Overall, scoring was up in the beginning of the steroid era, and this was relevant because the Americans put up 28. In their group, only the US and Japanese advanced due to a gap in the skills of the teams. 

Italy surprised the world by leading the Cubans going into the 7th, but would go on to lose 9-8. The Canadians upset the Japanese in Montreal to go on and face the rival Americans. There was a lot of power in the Semi-Finals, as the Cubans and Americans went on to face each other in the finals. The bash-brothers faced off when McGwire and Canseco homered in the same inning. McGwire's was a Grand Slam, however, leading the Americans to their 5th title.

Similar looks for everyone. Italy introduced their racing stripes, and Japan dropped their pinstripes.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Tampa Bay Marauders

The area's first pirate team, the Marauders and Miami were the two Floridian teams that broke through early in the second league's history. While the power was in the North East, the Marauders were known as a physical group of players. Mostly consisting of scrappy players cut from other teams, they hold the top 3 records for yellow cards in a season. Their first taste of the top league came in 1962. They would stay up for 10 seasons, before being relegated. The Marauders are very inconsistent in the league, and have been relegated and promoted very often. After bouncing around the leagues in the 1970s, the new Houlihan Stadium was built to accommodate the owner's new idea to bring NFL football to the Bay Area. The soccer team struggled, just as the football team. While most resources went to the Bucs, the Marauders fell down to the 3rd tier in 1980. Looking back, many fans think of this as the period of the greatest growth in team history. Moving back up to League 2 in 1992, then the Premier League in 1995 proved the team was back on track. After a relegation to L2, the team has remained in the top tier since 2001. They've built up one of the stronger youth networks in the country, which helps the team reload when they sell players. The team's only two trophies were a 2006 US Open Cup, and a League Title in 2010 after a run as the 6th seed in the playoffs. After moving to Raymond James Stadium, they're currently building a new 25,000 seat Soccer Specific Stadium in the Ybor district of Tampa.

They have been wearing red and black for their entire history, and the skull and cross bones are seen as an honor to wear over your heart.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Queens Park SC

Queens Park is the most accomplished team in the American soccer history. The team was put together by teams in Queens and Brooklyn to merge a super team in the early 1930s. The team had instant success. The team took over in the 1940s. From 1940 to 1946, the team won 5 championships of 7. Then 2 US Open Cups in 41 and 42. The team was closely tied to the city of New York, and could bring in bigger American players, as well as immigrants during World War 2. Queens Park won two USOC in the 50s, and a league title. The team built a new stadium that was the anchor of the 1964 World's Fair, throwing the club into international focus. The team built up from new stadium hype went on to win their first CONCACAF championship in 1966, 5 years into the competition. But the team's high spending cost the team in the long run. From 1966 to 89, the team won no trophies. But once they got the monkey off their back, the trophies poured in. Three straight championships in 89 90 and 91, a USOC in 89, and a CONCACAF Champions League in 90 and 91. Another title in 2000, then an emotional Champions League and USOC in 2001. The team is known as the giants in American soccer, but the league has been more competitive since the playoffs started mixing up the champions. A title in 2012, and CONCACAF title in 2013 brings their totals to - 6 USOC, 5 CONCACAF, and 12 league titles. They can afford the best players in the world, and act like it.

Named after the location and the London club, their first uniforms were blue and white hoops to match. But since, then, the team adopted orange to match the New York City flag. The Nassau County flag's crest has been the team's crest since their inception. The clash isn't consistent. Currently, the clash takes cues from the flag of Queens.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

From the Sox Drawer - BC Lions

So for LITERALLY years, I've had an idea to rebrand the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League. Look at animal logos in the Pacific North West. The Canucks and Seahawks both have sleek logos with references to traditional Native American, or First Nations art. The style is very straight with patterns and flairs that make it seem like it could be made of wood.

The BC Lions' logo isn't great. It's iconic, but not great. So I went ahead and made this yesterday. I went step by step, snapchatting the results. The first attempt was very blocky and hardly resembled a lion. I couldn't just take a lion from aboriginal art, well because, there isn't any. Not even mountain lions. So I looked at other animals, so eagles and wales. I picked up a few things from there. I went and looked at lion logos, so Detroit's came up. I realized that I may have to be sleeker than originally planned, but as long as it's bold and sharp. I did the head shape first, then added more details. The mouth is flat and angular, like the Seahawks and Canucks. I did a dark Shadow on the neck and jaw. Then white around the mouth (and has been nicknamed Colonel Sanders because of it). Eyes are one of my weak points, and I drew an eye after looking at some for other animals and came out with an eye that matched. I threw in a few shapes that I noticed in the art I saw, and I was done with the head.

The BC was the Baylor font that I really love. I wanted something that was different than the one they had, but could still be modern and evoke movement. I put the BC on the bottom of the head and placed it so the detail wold remain, and be as tall as it is wide. I may do some uniforms, but wanted to post these logos that I've had in my head for so long.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

From the Sox Drawer - Alabama State Hornets

There's so many logos I've done but haven't shared for whatever reason. I have been thinking that it would be really cool to show off some of the nicer ones to the public, because outside of tumblr, and the people I did them for, no one has seen these.

So last year around November, I got an email out of the blue. It was a guy who had played baseball at Alabama State. He was emailing me because he wanted me to put a logo package for ASU together because, well, they don't have a great identity. He wanted a few logos, a font, and some jerseys. I told him I was game because this was such a great opportunity.

In my head I wanted to do a cool, one color logo, like Texas or Kansas State. I figured that on yellow or black, the hornet's stripes could still have similar effects. But the black really didn't agree with me and I had to settle with an outline. I talked to our good friend Doug, who I see as a great mentor, and he was just saying how it wasn't working. I finally decided I should start again.

I loved the shape, but going forward it needed to be more realistic. Bold lines, correct anatomy, and multiple colors. So I took apart the shapes that made the previous look. I went one by one making shadows and highlights in addition to the small details. I added an eye, some legs, and Power Ranger looking thunder bolts to the tail. All of this resulted in one of my favorite logos I've ever done. I made an ASU monogram, and a full font for them. Then finally, I made a football uniform using the striping pattern.

But eventually I sent the whole thing to the guy(who was legit, I found him on their baseball roster), and he never got back. He wanted it around New Years and I think I got it done before then, but I still have this really nice logo that ASU is willing to buy from me!