The nature of soccer in the United States means professional clubs in our lower divisions are always coming and going in rapid fashion.  Every year sees the launch of at least one new organization. Usually these clubs are wholly new creations, bursting onto the scene with little but big talk and  modest money by people with little experience running a soccer operation. Late 2010 brought us something slightly different; instead of a new club popping up to join the NASL or USL, the Austin Aztex cut bait on Texas and headed east to Orlando while simultaneously moving to the USL's new reformed top division, USL-PRO.  The move was not without controversy (obviously), but entrée of the club in central Florida involves people that know something about the game.  One of those people is Adam Soucie, OCSC's Director of Communications.

In the first installment of a peek from inside the "new" organization, Adam gives us some insight into the conception and launch of Orlando City's crest, seen above.


As often as I can, I’ll be providing a look inside the workings of a professional soccer team, Orlando City of the USL PRO. These are my observations and opinions, not those of my employer. I hope you enjoy this peek inside the machine.

Developing and Launching a Crest

Creating a crest is one of the most difficult things to do in sports. From scratch, you are creating the symbol that defines your organization. It is, more than any player, coach, or front office member, the face of a team. The pressure to get it right is tremendous, almost overwhelming.

I came into Orlando City’s development process in the later stages. The general design direction was already in place. For example, a lion motif was already prominent. Lions had been actually been discussed as a possible symbol before any of the British investors were ever involved. Still, decisions made late in the game are often the most crucial. That was certainly the case here.

The perfect example of this is the color selection. From the day of the announcement press conference at the end of October, we had been telling people our colors would be red, white, and a little bit of blue. After seeing crests and secondary logos in those colors, it was clear we needed other options. Thankfully, our designers gave us those options.

The decision of a red and purple combination was a team effort. When it was initially shown, I jumped on it immediately. As a Fiorentina supporter, the combination makes sense to me, especially when gold is used as the accent color. We tried using a dark shade of blue, akin to Real Salt Lake, but it was just too dark. The purple made it pop. The rest of the staff felt that way as well, making it clear that it was the right choice. The funny part about the purple and red combo is that it was originally flip-flopped. The lion manes were purple with red highlights on a red background. It didn’t have the same “wow” factor that the reverse did.

Colors aside, the biggest point of discussion was the look of the lions. Initial versions had thicker borders and more accent lines in the mane. While I personally liked the look because it felt very strong, it brought to mind the Lion King too easily. Any time an Orlando team brings lions into their branding, the Lion King connection is easy for detractors to make. We didn’t need to hand it to them on a silver platter. Once we went to the less, for lack of a better word, cartoony lions, the center lion became the point of contention.

Early versions had the center lion with a tilted head. While it looked fine, to me it lacked the strength and focus we wanted the center lion to convey. The designers felt it added a dynamic feel to the lions. They weren’t wrong. I just saw too many negatives in addition to the dynamic feel, so I pushed to have it straightened to the final version. I was lucky enough to be backed up by the rest of the staff on that decision.

The overall reaction to the crest has been largely positive. As with any design, there are some that don’t like it for their various reasons. Some hate the color purple. That’s their right. Others love it. Others still have since said that after a few days it grew on them. Once the season starts, it won’t matter anyway. The focus should be on the field. That day will be here soon enough.

-Adam Soucie

For more on Orlando City's crest, see the official release on their website.
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