By Peter Schwartz
» More Columns
In any sport, putting an expansion team together is no easy task. There’s a lot of work that goes into it and there are milestones that a startup reaches in years, months and days leading up to its debut.
In the case of New York City FC, a new MLS team co-owned by the Yankees and Manchester City, a big moment came on Thursday night as they unveiled the team’s badge (logo) at the Adidas Performance store in New York City.
“Yeah, it’s pretty exciting,” said chief business officer Tim Pernetti. “We’ve spent a lot of months on this and we’ve had a lot of great input and great partnerships. It’s an important decision. You don’t take it lightly because it really defines who you are.”
The event drew a large crowd of supporters, staff members, media and invited guests, including MLS Commissioner Don Garber. Just before the unveiling, a band made its way up to the room belting out “Back in the New York Groove.”
Then, NYC FC sporting director Claudio Reyna and head coach Jason Kreis each pulled open a door to unveil the badge.
Renowned New York-based designer Rafael Esquer came up with two logos for fans to vote on. Over 100,000 votes were cast and they chose a badge that was inspired by the old New York City subway token.
“We couldn’t be happier with the result,” said Pernetti, who said he voted for the winning logo. “It really was a win for us all the way around.”
The circular logo was designed to represent all five boroughs and to reinforce the club’s connection to the entire city. The logo is navy blue, white and orange, all colors taken from the New York City flag.
While the team is a year away from stepping onto the pitch for the first time, the unveiling of the logo is something that the organization is proud of.
“We have a badge that our players will be wearing,” said Reyna, a former player on the United States National Team. “It’s one step closer to taking the field. It’s a very exciting time for us.”
Reyna was the first employee hired by NYC FC. He’s spent six months watching games and keeping an eye on players, not only in MLS but around the world. The team will get players from the expansion draft, but it will also leave no stone unturned in putting the roster together.
“There’s no shortage of interest of players,” said Reyna, who has been working closely with Kreis in planning for 2015. “We have a year, so there’s still some time. We’re working really hard behind the scenes to build a team and put a team on the field that we’ll all be proud of.”
Kreis comes to NYC FC after a successful stint as head coach of Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer. He spent nearly seven years with the club, leading them to the 2009 MLS Cup Championship and a berth in the 2013 title game.
The former MLS MVP has been in England working with Manchester City FC, learning the club’s approach to coaching, training and player development. He flew in to New York for the badge unveiling and admitted that it’s been difficult being the head coach of a club that won’t play a game for another year.
“It pulls on your patience,” said Kreis. “It pulls on sort of having a large plan and not being able to make it come to fruition right away. Those are very difficult things and things that I’m not used to. We have a plan. We have a timeline. We have a good organization in place moving things forward.”
As the team continues to prepare for the 2015 season, it continues to look for a home venue. They’ll need a temporary facility while they search for a place to build their permanent home. Playing at Yankee Stadium is an option, but the club is not ready to divulge where their first home will be.
“We’ve made great progress on a temporary stadium,” said Pernetti. “We’ve been pretty clear from the beginning that we’re going to have a home before we actually have a home.”
While they look for a temporary home, NYC FC continues to look for a place to build its permanent stadium. There has been talk of building a soccer stadium in the Bronx right next to Yankee Stadium, but nothing official has been announced.
It sounds like the club is looking at all of its options.
“We’re spending a lot of time on it, and we’re definitely looking for a home and not just a place to play,” said Pernetti. “We’re going to spend as much time as we need not only with the people that we need in the boroughs where we are looking, but with the administration. We’re going to work through it in the most positive, productive way possible.”
New York City FC doesn’t have any players yet. It doesn’t even have a home field just yet. But what it does have is an air of excitement around the organization. It has a successful MLS coach in place and now it has a logo.
A year seems like a long way away, but it really won’t be long before we see that new badge on a pitch, somewhere, in 2015.
You May Also Be Interested In These Stories