Tuesday Roundup: Chicago Red Stars release new brand identity

The Equalizer Staff February 7, 2017 58

Also in today’s roundup, Spirit Girls DA plans to move forward without key partner clubs, Lifetime Canada announces it will not air NWSL games, Matheson and Brynjarsdottir battle injury ahead of NWSL season, and Goteborg signs former Troject Savannah Levin

Chicago Red Stars announce new brand identity with logo re-vamp ahead of 2017 season.

Chicago Red Stars release new brand identity with logo re-vamp ahead of 2017 season.

On Tuesday morning, the Chicago Red Stars released a new brand identity that encompasses a new primary logo, a secondary logo, and a new hashtag. According to the club’s press release, they feel the re-brand embodies the city of Chicago.

The new crest brings in elements from the iconic Chicago flag- the overarching city emblem. The new shape of the logo resembles the traditional soccer crest, which “allows the club to pay tribute to all the women that have worn the previous crest with pride and have paved the way for where the Chicago Red Stars are today in the NWSL,” said owner Arnim Whisler.

In addition to the re-vamped primary logo, the club also introduced a secondary logo that emphasizes the “C” that’s said to tie the club back to the strong tradition of sporting excellence in the city with a six-point star at its center.

Complementary to the re-branded logo toolkit, a new hashtag has also been rolled out today. It is inspired from the popular Frank Sinatra song “My Kind of Town” that pays tribute to the unique yet extraordinary city of Chicago. The new hashtag is #MKOT and it will be utilized across all of the club’s social media channels.

{MORE NWSL News: Engen out at least for 2017}

Spirit Girls Development Academy plans to move forward in spite of loss of key partner clubs

The U.S. Soccer Girls Development Academy begins this fall with 74 clubs across six regional divisions.

The U.S. Soccer Girls Development Academy begins this fall with 74 clubs across six regional divisions.

The Washington Spirit still plan to create their Virginia-based Girls Development Academy team in 2017 even though three of the four clubs they announced as partners back in July have since pulled out. Braddock Road Youth Club (BRYC), Loudon Soccer, and Arlington Soccer Association are not planning to partner with the Spirit’s Development Academy anymore for the fall 2017 season. The fourth team, Southwestern Youth Association (SYA) and their partnership with the Spirit, remains uncertain at this point.

 Instead of partnering with the Spirit DA, Braddock Road will join the ECNL and Loudon Soccer will partner with FC Virginia’s Girls DA, and Arlington chose not to be a Development Academy partner. SYA’s partnership status is uncertain as their board did not approve the planned partnership although they have not announced alternative plans.

In March, the Spirit announced that Larry Best would head up the academy program for the Washington Spirit as “managing director” of the youth academy as they looked towards a U.S. Soccer Girls DA bid. According to SB Nation “Black & Red United,” Chris Hummer, President of the Washington Spirit, stated that Best is “no longer involved with the Spirit in any technical capacity.”

In face of the loss of these partnering clubs, the Spirit are still committed to a DA. Hummer told SB Nation that the Spirit is “absolutely fielding a DA [team] and believe it will be very strong with many top youth international players.”

The U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy will begin play in the fall of 2017 for its inaugural season with 74 clubs in six regional divisions.

Lifetime-NWSL TV deal won’t include Canada; limited to U.S.

A + E Networks are taking an equity stake in NWSL and will air a game of the week every Saturday on Lifetime (graphic by NWSL)

A + E Networks are taking an equity stake in NWSL and will air a game of the week every Saturday on Lifetime (graphic by NWSL)

Lifetime Canada announced on Wednesday, via Twitter, that it will not be airing NWSL games this season. On Thursday, the NWSL and Lifetime announced a historic partnership wherein Lifetime becomes an official sponsor and broadcast partner of the league starting this April. The NWSL will have weekly matches nationally televised on Lifetime every Saturday during the season for the next three years as part of the deal. The announcement, however, made no mention of international extensions and many critiqued the deal for that reason- lack of accessibility to the international audience. Fans in Canada may have to rely on the pending streaming announcement to access NWSL games.

NWSL Injury News: Matheson and Brynjarsdottir battle setbacks

Diana Matheson was left out of Canada's friendly against Mexico this past Saturday due to injury (photo copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

Diana Matheson was left out of Canada’s friendly against Mexico this past Saturday due to injury (photo copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

Canadian international and Seattle Reign midfielder Diana Matheson was left out of Canada’s most recent friendly with Mexico this past weekend as a precautionary measure due to injury. According to Metro News, Herdmann is awaiting word on her status ahead of the Algarve Cup. The team reunites in camp on Feb 24, one week before they begin the Algarve Cup in Portugal.

After Algarve, Matheson is set to head to Seattle for her first preseason with the Reign as she was traded to the Reign from the Washington Spirit a few weeks ago. She was the Spirit’s all-time leading attacker in both goals and assists during her 63 games through four seasons with the club. Matheson has been part of four World Cup teams and three Olympics- winning bronze medals in 2012 and 2016.

Yesterday, Portland Thorns forward Dagný Brynjarsdóttir took to Instagram to lament her most recent injury troubles: disc protrusions in her back. The Icelandic international signed with the Thorns in 2016 and appeared 15 times for the club, scoring five goals this past year. The former Florida State standout and MAC Hermann Trophy finalist played with UMF Selfoss and Bayern Munich before heading to the NWSL. At the international level, Brynjarsdóttir has earned 61 caps and scored 15 goals for the Iceland women’s national team. She was part of the team that qualified Iceland for the upcoming EURO championships this summer where she scored three goals in qualification as Iceland won their group.

Goteborg signs former USC midfielder Savannah Levin

Kopparbergs Göteborg FC announced the signing of American midfielder Savannah Levin on Tuesday. Levin, who went undrafted in the 2017 NWSL College Draft, just recently came off a NCAA title winning season at the University of Southern California. At USC, Levin started in 18 of 22 games including all NCAA games and the championship winning match. The Irvine, California native hopes to gain some valuable playing experience at a high level in Sweden specifically she stated “I want to win the Damallsvenskan and play in the Champions League, then I hope that they get their eyes opened to me with the U.S. national team,” according to the club’s release.

  • Som Termanni

    Unlike Lifetime UK and Lifetime Asia, A+E does not co-own Lifetime Canada. The name and some programming is licensed from A+E, but they don’t control what Lifetime Canada does or doesn’t air and this deal would not have included them.

    • mockmook

      Perhaps they will show interest on their own if Vancouver gets an NWSL team.

      • Dumfries

        They would still have to sign a contract to carry it same as any other TV channel in Canada.

      • Som Termanni

        Corus (Lifetime Canada’s owner) would be a good pick if Vancouver got a team. They also own Vancouver’s Global affiliate station CHAN, and EuroWorld Sport, a soccer-focused network currently lacking its own rights to live content.

  • wosofan

    New look, new feel, same empty stadium

  • Bruce

    Rebrand? Um, ok. How about a preseason schedule?

    • DNG

      The Red Stars are in the Thorns preseason tournament. They many not be doing other preseason games.

      • Bruce

        Would be nice to know.

        • DNG

          Didn’t they do some closed door matches last year. They might not be planning an announcement for those matches.

          • Bruce

            There were scrimmages against Northwestern and Notre Dame. Both were open. I went to one

          • Som Termanni

            Not to mention the Thorns just announced their April 8 closed-door preseason friendly vs. University of Oregon.

      • Bruce

        Dash have two matches in Texas before heading to Portland.

        It’s only a month away.

    • guest

      The 2016 NWSL season opening day schedule was not announced until mid February (Feb 17th) with full NWSL 2016 scheduled announced on Feb 18th. A number of the NWSL teams also did not announce their 2016 preseason schedules until mid Feb 2016.

      • Bruce

        CRS preseason schedule was released on Feb 8th last year, and it was teased (a sign-up for free tickets campaign) at least four weeks before that.

        That a team that was so pathetic in driving attendance last year is already doing *less* is not a good sign.

      • Som Termanni

        2016 schedule: Feb. 18
        2015 schedule: Feb. 5
        2014 schedule: Feb. 7
        2013 schedule: Feb. 12

  • sandrae gunter

    Are there any plans in place for Seattle to renovate Memorial? Though it doesn’t look bad on TV i still think its a bit out dated and may be affecting the Reign drawing bigger crowds. From what I’ve heard the bathrooms need to be better, the Locker rooms need updating and the seats need replacing… just needs a face lift, the Perfect location and size for the Reign. Obviously the field need to be better but that may not be possible anytime soon. Seattle public schools looks unlikely to doing so the reign should just get an investor/sponsor (Microsoft?) to help or may be AE Networks will just do it. Wishful I know.

    • FawcettFan14

      It would be great if Microsoft invested some improvements into Memorial Stadium. Maybe a softer, more grass-like turf like Portland has. And try to erase the gridiron markings, numbers and those weird blue bars near the sideline. Just make the field more playable for soccer. And as you say, better bathrooms

    • Dumfries

      The Reign upgraded the locker rooms before they moved in. If they want any other upgrades, they will similarly have to pay for them themselves. SPS isn’t likely to replace the artificial turf for at least another 6 years. And the stadium itself is overkill for high school football.

      Personally, I think they’d be better off working with UW to upgrade their soccer stadium, rather than investing more in Memorial. The Link light rail has a stop right next to Husky Stadium, which isn’t far from the soccer stadium. And it’s a natural grass pitch.

      • Guesting

        SPS is also considering the Memorial stadium site as an option for a new high school.

    • Som Termanni

      The only signs of the Reign thinking about stadiums was a survey to STHs asking if fans would be interested in matches at Starfire or CLink. Neither feels like an upgrade; CLink would be nicer but Orlando already demonstrated that the optics of 5,800 people in a 60,000 seat stadium are less than ideal.

  • Som Termanni

    Huerta named January’s W-League player of the month: http://www.idahostatesman.com/sports/high-school/article131371979.html

    • Bruce

      Closed the season out as strongly as anyone. That last game against Sydney was the most complete game I’ve ever seen from Huerta.

      Congrats to her. Well deserved.

  • Bruce

    The recent Lyon-Marseille game is up on YT. Lyon dominated possession against an over-matched opponent (again) in a 4-0 win.

    Morgan played the first 45 minutes and was not a factor at all before giving way to Le Sommer, who immediately created three chances and a goal within 10 minutes of entering the pitch.

    The broadcast uses an extremely wide shot that allows one to view an exceptional amount of movement away from the ball. It’s clear that Morgan is struggling to fit in with this style of play. She remains more-or-less static while the rest of the Lyon attack bends runs, stretches the defense and takes on opponents from the wings. I would not be surprised is she doesn’t leave the bench in games of importance.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNLzwEiNPZY

  • Som Termanni

    USSF schedules a friendly against an unannounced opponent for April 9, less than a week before the NWSL season opener.

    > ESPN has reserved a two-hour block for the friendly, starting at 2 p.m. ET, which leads into coverage of an MLS game between Orlando City and the New York Red Bulls at 4.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/soccer-insider/wp/2017/02/07/tuesday-kickaround-35/?utm_term=.d653141fb983

    • Bruce

      Hey, we’re just gonna borrow your marquee players before your season opener, even though we already pulled them away for two weeks this month.

      The USSF couldn’t find a better way to show how little it cares about the NWSL.

      Total d!ck move.

      • mockmook

        OR, if you want to be an optimist:

        Some great free advertising for the League right before opening day.

        • Bruce

          They’d actually have to mention the league during the telecast, though.

          First time for everything, I guess.

          • mockmook

            I’ve noticed the announcers mentioning the NWSL a lot in recent USWNT games.

          • Bruce

            They did in the post OG friendlies in reference to all of the new call-ups. Let’s hope that becomes a habit.

            This (like SBC) is a case where SUM’s failure/disinterest to bundle the NWSL into a television contract hurts. ESPN has zero interest in cross-promoting the league in a telecast like this. The will be no advertising tie-ins. No tangential media. Nada.

          • Som Termanni

            > ESPN has zero interest in cross-promoting the league in a telecast like this.

            If A+E’s Nancy Dubuc and Dan Suratt are to be believed, they’re both already in ESPN’s ears about cross-promotion of the Lifetime deal. This’ll be as a good litmus test of their success as any.

            The timing of the announcement is curious, though. Canada scheduled their friendly for this window a few week ago. USSF schedules this one less than a week after the Lifetime deal.

            It’s also another decent sign for the CBA negotiations. April 9 is more than 60 days out from now. Terminating the current MOU would require 60 days’ notice.

          • Bruce

            Hope they can deliver on cross promotion, but I’ll play the skeptic.

            I think the moral to this story is that the USSF remains willing to do material damage to the league if they can make a few hundred thousand dollars in the process. It’s shameful from the organization with a fiduciary responsibility to the NWSL board.

      • HOFCToDi

        You’re a dumbass.

        resources.fifa.com/mm/document/footballdevelopment/women/02/77/10/17/internationalwomenscalendar2017_2018_2019_neutral.pdf

    • guest

      USWNT April 9th match is scheduled in a FIFA window. The FIFA 2017 women’s international match calendar window for April is 3rd thru 11 of April.

    • Paul Klee

      So that likely means a Thursday night match on Fox April 6. That means that Thorns, Dash and Red Star USWNT squad members could play matches on Mar 26, 29 Apr 1, 6 and 9. 5 matches in 14 days they’ll need a good two weeks off after that.

      • Som Termanni

        If there’s a USSF friendly, I’ll be surprised if there isn’t a camp. If there’s a camp, USWNT players won’t be in at least the April 1 or 6 matches.

    • g2

      USWNT has normally played 1 or 2 international matches in the April FIFA window ( current USWNT site has results which show the early April USWNT matches for each of the past 5 years – 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 ). The April window in the FIFA women’s international match calendar is setup to allow 2 matches ( window is 3rd April – 11 April ). The Washington Post article also points out that match is scheduled within a FIFA window.

      • Som Termanni

        Sorry for misleading anyone into thinking this is somehow a surprise. The Canada friendly vs. Germany was scheduled in this window weeks ago and nobody pulled me over the coals for talking about that one.

        The news is that it was just announced, has no opponent, and has a reserved ESPN slot, not that the USWNT would play a friendly in an international window.

        Then again I’m posting here, so obviously I’m an idiot.

  • Ando91881

    WNBA released its complete 2017 schedule back around Christmas. Problematic that NWSL doesn’t have it out by February 1st.

    Heck, even the lowly Chicago Bandits (who only average 1,100-1,200 per home game) released their complete schedule a week ago, and their season does not even start until Memorial Day.

    • guest

      as noted elsewhere in this thread, NWSL schedule is normally released in Feb
      2016 schedule: Feb. 18
      2015 schedule: Feb. 5
      2014 schedule: Feb. 7
      2013 schedule: Feb. 12

      • Som Termanni

        Also, unlike the WNBA, the NWSL is dealing with a team that relocated markets two months ago, and a season-long fixed-schedule TV deal announced five days ago. They said at the TV deal press conference that they were rearranging the schedule to accommodate the 4 p.m. Saturday time slot.

        • guest

          Although the North Carolina FC NASL men’s team has a match scheduled for April 15 at WakeMed soccer stadium the time is listed as “TBD” on NC FC site – so perhaps an opportunity to schedule the NWSL match at 4pm in TV slot (opening day for previous season’s championship team) with men’s match after.

          A number of the MLS cities (Portland, Houston, Orlando) are already booked on 4/15 although Sporting KC is playing away and FCKC has used Sporting MLS stadium twice before for their opening day matches. Washington at soccerplex might also be good visual (natural grass, visible crowd) for tv

          A lot of moving pieces to the NWSL schedule with TV deal etc but hopefully NWSL makes a schedule announcement soon.

          • Som Termanni

            The Timbers match on April 15 is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Pacific. A televised Thorns match would be at 1 p.m. That seems plausible, especially on turf.

            Houston’s match is at 5:30 p.m. Central, which is a tighter fit unless it’s a coordinated doubleheader. Less plausible, but still doable, on grass.

            OCFC plays at noon, which means they could be the lead-in for the Pride. Which would frankly be awesome and a little hilarious.

          • Som Termanni

            Yeah, after writing that out, an OCFC/Pride home doubleheader to open a new stadium is exactly the sort of marketing gimmick that Orlando’s ownership would love. The optics of a sellout 25,500 crowd would be spectacular.

          • Som Termanni

            Aw… I’m so stupid. Those times are all Pacific. My hopes were so high.

            Houston or Portland it is, then. Both mens’ matches would be at 7:30 p.m., plenty of time for the 1 p.m. Portland or 3 p.m. Houston matches to wrap up. Portland would probably look better as the Dynamo aren’t doing so hot attendance-wise either.

  • Som Termanni

    USL’s FC Cincinnati sells 10,000 season tickets, making them the second non-MLS team to do so. http://www.socceramerica.com/article/72249/usl-fc-cincinnati-hits-10000-target-for-season-t.html

    The first were the Thorns, either in 2016 via the Guardian or in January via the Thorns themselves.

    • Dumfries

      Sacramento Republic probably could’ve sold over 10k, but they capped season ticket sales to 9,500 (their stadium holds 11,442).

      • Som Termanni

        After the MLS bid shenanigans, I’ll be a little surprised if they keep all of those STHs.

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  • john

    The biggest news here is probably the trouble Spirit is having with its DA “affiliates” . It appears there is still a lot of uncertainty and turmoil top to bottom in DC. Best leaving the group is significant, but perhaps not unexpected. It would be interesting to know how much money the Academy generates for the organization.

  • guest

    No games in Canada? That’s pretty messed up, and hopefully not a sign of things to come. One of the attractions of the NWSL has been its universal access on youtube, and I’m just hoping they don’t lose sight of this fact and they leave this option open. Heck, I’d even watch games archived up to a week later. Also, by now everyone’s aware that YT is very adept at serving up ads to its viewers, and if it’s a creative ad, I’ll even watch it to the end. But whether they can run enough ads during a soccer match to cover their expenses is another matter.

  • AlexH

    So how much does it cost to “establish a new brand identity?” Perhaps they could use that money to pay their players more.

    • mockmook

      Or, they pick up new fans by re-branding, which leads to better pay

  • Som Termanni

    Reign owner Bill Predmore interviewed about the Lifetime deal, starting around 30:00: https://soundcloud.com/geoff-baker-hardcount/ep-13-boost-for-college-football-players-and-womens-soccer

    • Som Termanni

      Also, it’s nice of Predmore to say the Reign don’t get enough coverage from local newspapers, while on a Seattle Times podcast, a couple weeks after the Times laid off the reporter whose beat included the Reign.

  • Som Termanni

    Disney, which owns ESPN and half of A+E, is teasing a standalone on-demand sports streaming service: https://www.thestreet.com/story/13995001/1/iger-tries-hard-to-tease-disney-s-on-demand-sports-service-to-soothe-espn-worries.html

  • Som Termanni

    UWS champs Santa Clarita re-signed UCLA MF Chloe Castaneda and F Julia Hernandez. Both were all-league picks, and Hernandez was conference PotY and finals MVP; her finals performance included a 119th-minute bicycle kick game-winning goal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72DNI_fytrY&sns=tw