Richmond Kickers unveil new logo
By Jimmy LaRoue
If the first 20 years of the Richmond Kickers are any indication, the next 20 years will exceed the success the organization has had both with its pro team and with its youth program.
With the announcement and formal unveiling of a new logo that is already generating buzz on social media and in the city of Richmond, the Kickers are poised to grow their fanbase and organization, and it has the club’s director of soccer, Leigh Cowlishaw, dreaming big.
“We’ve looked probably over the last five years at changing our logo, and for several reasons – the timing wasn’t right or we felt it wasn’t the perfect logo for us,” Cowlishaw told soccerwire.com.
“Going through the process, we went through the process again six to eight months ago and we feel with the 20th anniversary and the buzz that we’re getting with several major announcements over the last couple of weeks, it was perfect timing.”
The old logo, he said, was non-functional and noted that the new one is cleaner and more explosive. The team held a formal unveiling of the logo on its third uniform, a throwback green and blue uniform that harkens back to the Kickers’ first season in 1993 and will be worn by the USL PRO squad during select 2012 season games, including the opener Apr. 7 against Charleston, also celebrating its 20th anniversary season.
It will be used as the pro team’s primary logo effective immediately.
“We have always been on the cutting edge, working passionately as the model of American soccer,” said Kickers president Rob Ukrop in a press release. “Moving forward, the vision of our brand is to continue to evolve, providing quality experiences for our fans, our players and our partners.”
The logo is supposed to signify elements that reflect what the club describes as its “distinct history, culture and tradition of the Richmond Kickers, as well as the vision of the organization.” The red, used by the club since 2001, is, according to the release, to represent “the passion for players, fans and the city while representing the strong tradition that the club has established” in the Richmond area, while white, the secondary color, signifies “the purity and precision of the beautiful game.”
The pentagon shape of the logo, designed by Richmond-based branding firm yogg, was inspired by the classic soccer ball panel with the motion of the “exploding K” of soccer balls reflecting the tradition of the original 1993 flying soccer ball logo with a modern twist to appeal to the next generation of players and fans.
“One of major issues in the past is that the logo was not really functional, and not traditional when compared with other soccer logos around the world,” Cowlishaw said. “So we’ve moved to a traditional shield-shape that is inspired by the classic soccer panel. … It’s cleaner, it’s modern and we’re embracing the next generation of soccer fans and players,” Cowlishaw said.
Cowlishaw said the logo would be phased into the rest of the club, with it first appearing on the USL PRO club’s uniforms, and then onto uniforms for the Development Academy and elite girls’ teams on through the club structure. It will begin appearing on the team’s website immediately.
The club, which has more than 8,000 soccer players in Kickers-sponsored programs, has embraced social media in trying to get people involved in the process, using Facebook, in particular, to promote the logo and the club and is hoping that many will choose the logo as their profile picture.
“I think our future is the young soccer player, the young sports fan,” Cowlishaw said. “Our fan base continues to grow–a more knowledgeable, a more educated fan base, a more motivated fan base. They get to see so much more soccer than the players from 20 years ago. Certainly, soccer is very credible, it’s very viable, it’s very cool right now.”
The ignorance of the sport, Cowlishaw said, is nearly gone.
“We want to embrace that now,” he said.” We want to push on. It’s cool to be a soccer player. It’s cool to be a soccer fan, and I think we have the perfect logo to address that fact.”
He expects the logo to create more of buzz in the city, with those in the organization saying it rivals any in the world. Cowlishaw said that different people saw different things when they were first exposed to the logo, with some initially liking and other not. However, he said the logo grew on those who didn’t like it and became “very identifiable” for them.
“We feel really positive this is really going to differentiate us from the regular youth programming and again show that we are the professional club in Richmond, one of the top clubs outside of Major League Soccer,” Cowlishaw said.
And it’s got Cowlishaw excited about the future which for him would include creating a cost-free academy-equivalent program for its elite girls and constructing a 3,000 to 4,000-seat soccer-specific stadium. Ukrop Park, he said, is already zoned for it, and it could go there should it be financially feasible for the club down the road, though he said work is always going on behind the scenes. Ultimately, well further down the road, he’d like to see Richmond play host to its own MLS team.
He does, indeed, as he says, “shoots for the stars.”
“The next 20 years are going to be even more exciting than the first 20,” Cowlishaw said.