31 Oct KC NWSL women’s soccer: new team name is Kansas City Current
Kansas City’s women’s professional soccer team has a new permanent name: the Kansas City Current.
The first-year National Women’s Soccer League franchise played its inaugural season, which concluded Saturday night at Legends Field in Kansas City, Kan., under a generic and temporary moniker: “KC NWSL.”
Its search for a long-term identity officially ended Saturday, when the new name and revised crest logo — still utilizing a teal-and-red color scheme — were unveiled during halftime of the game against the OL Reign.
“’The Current’ is so powerful,” co-owner Angie Long said. “Both current in the water and the current of energy and motion. We’re super-excited about the name.”
The team collaborated with Willougby Design, a local woman-owned firm, for its interim and permanent branding. The Longs said Current fits on multiple levels, including the fact that the Missouri River courses through Kansas City.
Long and her ownership partners, including her husband, Chris, and Brittany Matthews, liked the idea of aligning their brand with the power of a river that appears calm on its surface but is fiercely intense below.
They also see Current as something for which the organization stands. The franchise was conceived as a team for everyone, not just a small cross-section of the community, and seeks to be forward-thinking — the re-branding announcement comes at the end of a week in which ownership announced its intent to build a new $70 million stadium along the Berkley Park riverfront.
“The opportunity for us with this name was to certainly recognize the wonderful history of Kansas City,” Chris Long said. “But even more importantly, acknowledge where the city is going and the power with which it’s going in that direction.”
Internally, the Longs said, picking the name “Current” was a mid-summer decision. The club conducted two surveys among its founding members — inaugural season-ticket holders — as well as a third during the first home match of the season in April. Dozens of meetings with local business and civic leaders also fed into the decision-making process, the Longs said.
The Current emerged as one of several final candidates; others included Fountain City KC and Kansas City Majesty. Fountain City KC, or FCKC, was eventually scrapped because the new organization didn’t want to connect too directly with the former NWSL team in town, FC Kansas City, which also went by FCKC.
Names hinting at royalty, as used by other local teams (the Royals and Monarchs, for instance, and also arguably the Chiefs) fell by the wayside, as well. The Longs said they wanted their team to “earn its name,” not be handed one.
The river connection would seem to work well here for another reason: The club’s new stadium and $15 million training facility in Riverside will both be built along the waterfront.
“It all came together so well,” Chris Long said. “And the facilities solidified it as, ‘Oh, yes.’ All the feedback we’ve gotten is that this name is the correct one for us.”
With the new name comes a new logo that departs from the circular teal mark the team used this season. The new logo takes on a more traditional “shield” shape that’s utilized by many soccer teams worldwide. A vertical “KC” at its center, on what the team terms a “heartland red” stripe, makes it “unmistakably Kansas City,” the Longs said.
Behind the vertical stripe are three streams of a current — representing fierce ambition, the players’ power and Kansas City pride, according to team officials. Those currents “flow” from the bottom-left of the logo to its top-right. The current also breaks through the boundaries of the logo to represent the notion that the team has been, and will be, breaking boundaries of its own.
“The combination of the heartland red, the teal and then the storm blue, it’s like a trifecta — it’s so perfect,” Chris Long said.
Two white stars, representing Missouri and Kansas, remain in the new logo. If the organization wins a championship, a new star would be added outside the crest along the logo’s top edge.
A partnership with KC’s Boulevard Brewing was also announced at halftime Saturday. Club and brewery are bringing to market a limited-time pilsner called Teal Rising.
Before storing their new uniforms for the winter, KC’s players got to show them off a bit. They played in their new jerseys for the final 45 minutes of Saturday night’s game against the OL Reign.
It was a fitting finish … and a new beginning.
“I think the process we went through to get to this point was the right process,” Chris Long said. “Engaging fans, players, community, and I think that we’ve captured the identity of not only what we’re building, but the community that we’ve operated in, as well.”
This story was originally published October 30, 2021 8:01 PM.
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