As the popularity of women’s soccer grows in the US, NWSL’s newly branded Gotham FC and its general manager Alyse LaHue want to stay ahead.
By ditching the azure blue identity the club has played in New Jersey since 2009, the team will kick off the season at Red Bull Arena as NJ / NY Gotham FC.They are not just looking to attract more fans from the New York subway market. , but we are also committed to growing the city’s base for women’s soccer.
The team recently announced that it will partner with the Downtown United SC youth club and create a second tier team for its reserve players called NJ / NY Gotham FC Reserves. This team will be based in the New York City area and will play in the semi-professional women’s Premier Soccer League. NJ / NY Gotham FC reserves will play all of their home games on Randall’s Island in New York City, with the WSPL season scheduled to kick off in May.
The purpose of the reserves team is to continue to grow the fan base in the New York City area and provide girls with more opportunities to advance in the game. Downtown United FC is one of the largest soccer clubs in New York City with several travel clubs, camps, and recreational leagues for boys and girls. The partnership will help further expand women’s soccer in New York City and create a great investment for the NWSL.
“We are totally committed to this, we are not only, you know, New Jersey and New York in name, but we are going to contribute to the growth of women’s football and women’s football in both areas and we are going to be an important part of that group”, LaHue said.
The NWSL has consistently gained more media attention and investment with the growth of women’s soccer in recent years. The league added expansion teams Racing Louisville FC and Kansas City for the 2021 season, and Angel FC will join in 2022, bringing the league to 11 teams. Many celebrities and athletes have already contributed to the development of Angel FC like Serena Williams, Natalie Portman, Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach, Eva Longoria and Julie Foudy, and high-profile names like Sarah Spain, Jenna Bush-Hager and Chelsea Clinton have bought stakes in their local teams in recent months.
“I think our league is in a better position now than ever and we’re seeing that start to translate into massive interest,” LaHue said. “I think people are seeing that this is a good return on investment in women’s sport. It’s not just charity, you don’t do it just because it’s the right thing to do. This is actually a good place to invest your money and it will pay off because we are a massively growing league and a rapidly growing league. “
With the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup underway, Gotham FC has two wins on the season with wins against the Orlando Pride and the North Carolina Courage, and ranks first in their division.
Gotham is an underdog team this season. With many new faces on the list, the club is looking for a fresh start with a new identity. But the hope is that a veteran core will help the team exceed expectations, with USWNT star Carli Lloyd, South Korean star Ifeoma Onumonu, former Japan National Team star Nahomi Kawasumi and rising star Paige. Monaghan.
“I am very excited for Gotham FC. I think there is a vision, I think we are what the brand shows and what we stand for as a team on and off the pitch, from our staff to our players and who we are.” it will contribute and come out positively this year, “said attacker Monaghan. “The rebrand is more than just a name, it’s more than just changing the logo, it’s really just getting up with the group.”
Gotham FC’s rebranding has been in the works for about two years. The team will move from Yurcak Field at Rutgers University to Red Bull Arena, a stadium built specifically for soccer that has been the home of the MLS’s New York Red Bulls since 2010.
Red Bull Arena seats 25,000 fans, five times the capacity of Yurcak Field, and is closer to New York. The organization decided that the stadium was more accessible to fans in both New Jersey and New York, especially by public transportation, as the stadium is only three blocks from a train station that can connect fans from all over the area. metropolitan.
Hoping the move will attract new fans, the team decided it was time for a new brand to unite fans from both states, and so far the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“We are embracing where we are, both in New Jersey, which is our roots, and in New York, which has always been a huge part of this club, and we know there is a huge fan base there,” LaHue said. . “They supported us over the years, but now with this rebranding and our relocation, I think it gives us an opportunity to say that we really are here.”
Paulina Vairo is a contributor to GoodSport, a media company dedicated to increasing the visibility of women and girls in sports.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.