Charlotte FC: MLS expansion team unveils name, crest, colors

CHARLOTTE — Charlotte’s new Major League Soccer franchise unveiled the club’s official team name, crest and colors Wednesday morning.

Charlotte MLS announced during a live broadcast that the Queen City’s new MLS club would be called Charlotte FC.

In addition to revealing the club name, Charlotte FC unveiled team branding, including its crest and colors.

“Charlotte FC is part of an exciting new era for sports in Charlotte and the Carolinas. Today’s unveiling of our name, colors and crest will be remembered as one of the most exciting days in our club’s history,” said Tom Glick, President of Tepper Sports and Entertainment. “Our fans have been at the heart of creating this brand. This is a large and growing group of soccer fans who, like us, have a passion for the game and big goals and ambitions. We will keep building together with them and delivering a club to which they belong.”

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The design inspiration for the Charlotte FC crest was derived from Charlotte’s unique history as the first American city to have its own branch of the United States Mint. The blue, black and white crest is in a circular shape, a modern interpretation of the historic coins made locally. In the center of the crest lies a four-point crown, a nod to the Queen City moniker and the historic four wards of Uptown Charlotte. The engraved typeface and Minted 2022 border mark are additional details paying homage to the club’s inaugural season.

“The Charlotte FC brand truly embodies our city with a design that reflects Charlotte’s rich history,” said Charlotte FC Owner David Tepper. “When we were awarded the team in December, I spoke about this club bringing the city together. To reach the point where our fans can actually know our name and see our colors is a significant milestone."

“This is real,” Tepper went on to say. “This is happening. COVID or no COVID, we’re getting ready. I have a mask, got my party shirt on -- it’s an exciting day for sure. We signed our first player ... who we’re very excited about. Sergio.”

The colors are unique enough to separate the club from the Panthers, but similar enough to draw those American football fans in.

“I think this is a great opportunity if you weren’t already a soccer fan, now you’ve got one that is linked to your football team,” said Tiffany Blackmon.

Wednesday’s announcement generated excitement for this team, now the challenge is maintaining that enthusiasm through an additional 12 months as the pandemic pushed Charlotte’s debut season in the MLS to 2022 -- but there’s plenty to do until then. Seating plans will be rolled out in the fall, sold-out merchandise will have to be restocked, and most importantly, a team will have to be built.

“It’s just going to be tons and tons of firsts and milestones that will keep it interesting, and so I’m confident time will fly by and we’re going to be able to make the most of it,” Glick said.

Originally scheduled to begin play in 2021, Charlotte will now debut in 2022.

“We have always taken a thoughtful and strategic approach to our expansion planning and have delivered successful launches for every new club,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber in a news release. “It is important for each club to take the necessary time to launch their inaugural MLS seasons the way their fans and communities deserve. With the extra year to make up for what has been a challenging 2020, these teams will be well-positioned for their debuts and for long-term success.”

MLS officially awarded an expansion team to Charlotte on Dec. 17, 2019.

The team is the league’s 30th club.

“After a lot of discussion with Major League Soccer, we are confident it is in the best interest of our club and our supporters to take additional time to ensure a successful inaugural season,” said Tom Glick, President of Tepper Sports & Entertainment. “When we were awarded the team in December, we knew we were on an extremely tight timeline to begin play in 2021, but we were ready to meet that challenge. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted several of our essential initiatives. We have made huge progress in the last few months but having additional time to build is important.”

Club operations will move forward in preparation for the 2022 season.

Charlotte MLS officials announced earlier this month the signing of its first-ever professional player, Spanish midfielder Sergio Ruiz.

[Officials gear up for new Charlotte MLS team]

The club is on schedule to sign more players when the transfer window opens later this summer. Supporters who placed ticket deposits for the inaugural season will be allowed to select their seats within the bowl at Bank of America Stadium this fall.

The Charlotte MLS youth academy, which was launched in March, will operate as scheduled with training beginning in July.

“We are committed to bringing Major League Soccer to our city and region,” said David Tepper, owner of Charlotte MLS. “The party’s still on! We are just delaying it a bit to ensure we have the best experience for our fans when we do start playing.”