New DC team named Washington Spirit

Jeff Kassouf December 11, 2012 10

Washington Spirit is the new women’s professional soccer team based out of the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md. in the new women’s professional soccer league. The team is owned by the same group which owned D.C. United Women of the USL W-League, but has been rebranded for the new professional league.

“We wanted a name that speaks directly to the patriotism of D.C…..we wanted a name with spirit,” team general manager Chris Hummer said.

He wasn’t joking. The name Spirit is familiar to the women’s soccer world. The San Diego Spirit played in the Women’s United Soccer Association from 2001-2003.

Mike Jorden has been retained as Washington’s head coach, as has Cindi Harkes — wife of former U.S. international and D.C. United star John Harkes — as assistant.

Hummer added that the team already has “multiple six-figure sponsorships” in place, but none are jersey-front deals.

The Washington Freedom brand spanned the course of 10 years and three leagues before being abandoned in 2011 when the team was moved to Boca Raton, Fla. and renamed magicJack. The Freedom name no longer resides in the capital district, however. Former magicJack (of WPS) team owner Dan Borislow is believed to own the rights to it and he said, simply, “they never called me.”

On Tuesday, Hummer said that “Spirit” was a chance to start with a clean slate, but the Freedom name being in Borislow’s hands likely played a role. The team did, after all, reactivate the @DCFreedom twitter handle in mid-November, but then implemented a ‘name the team’ contest that could not include the name Freedom.

“Certainly a name that a lot of fans wanted us to take up,” Hummer said of the Freedom legacy. “In the fan contest we did, a lot of people picked ‘Spirit.’ We just really wanted to have a new name and a fresh start and not deal with the past. That said, the Freedom is a fantastic legacy for the DC area and a name we never want to forget.”

The previous D.C. United Women name was “a marketing partnership,” but DCU’s ties to specific sponsors were too restricting, Hummer said. “As a new league we have to be able to do as much as possible with sponsors.”

As part of MLS, D.C. United is an Adidas team, and rumors have the new women’s league pegged as a Nike-outfitted league.

The team will still field a reserve team in the USL W-League, named the Washington Spirit Reserves.

Here is the team’s new site.

  • StarCityFan

    Not a bad nickname, but it’s recycled from the WUSA era, when San Diego’s team had that name. I’m going to be expecting to see Julie Foudy, Joy Fawcett, and Shannon Macmillan on the roster!

    • Steglitz49

      High time for a competiton to give these teams their Latin mottos, modelled on the great clubs of England.

      Arsenal’s is “Victoria Concordia Crescit” which translated is “victory comes from harmony” while that of their neighbours and ardent rivals Spurs is “Audere est Facere”, which literally translated reads “to dare is to do”.

      So let’s hear it for over here! To get the ball rolling, how about “Audere Magnificat” or “Victoria Honoria”? Help us, ye Latin scholars!

      • Meg Linehan

        I’m down as long as one team uses “Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus”

        • Steglitz49

          Touché! (for the benefit of any Québecois reading l’Égaliseur).

          Should a Viking-derived motto in Icelandic script also qualify? Could be an option for teams in New Foundland or Nova Scotia?

        • Steglitz49

          “Draco Ferro Picta Dominarum” ?

  • Steglitz49

    Once St Louis get a team, do they not have the moral right to be the “Spirit of St Louis”?

  • luke

    Fine 4 me!

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  • Snags

    Call Dan and get the Freedom name back. Can we please start having some continuity and tradition in American soccer? It’s getting ridiculous.

    • Steglitz49

      Maybe this is why old Europe relies on natural nicknames and name their clubs boring things like City and United?

      In this context Manchester City LFC is a bit of an oddity because the women started it independently of the men’s club (which, incidentally, was the club in Manchester before the war) but recently the men’s club took them under their wings. With Liverpool signing foreign players and this team getting a war-chest of sorts, maybe Arsenal will no longer have it so easy at the top.