St. Louis Major League Soccer team name is … St. Louis City SC

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The St. Louis City SC crest, unveiled Aug. 13, 2020.

By Gloria Lloyd, News Editor

The Major League Soccer team coming to St. Louis got a name Thursday: St. Louis City SC, with team colors of red and blue accented with yellow and gray.

The name is internationally inspired, but also intended as a tribute to both St. Louis and the residents of the region as a whole that will ultimately serve as its fan base. The name and team crest were unveiled virtually by team owner Carolyn Kindle Betz at Harris-Stowe State University, streamed live on Facebook with cardboard cutouts instead of audience members due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kindle Betz said she hopes the professional soccer name will be as iconic in St. Louis as Ted Drewes and toasted ravioli.

“I love this city, I love this region and together we can do great things,” Kindle Betz said to the crowd of cardboard cutouts. “With this team, the supporters, the fans, what we will do is we will put St. Louis on the international map, and that’s exactly where it should be. … We are St. Louis City SC. It feels so good to be able to finally say it.”

The name reveal came later than it otherwise would have because of the pandemic, but was no less exciting to those who have been waiting for it.

“We feel like a champagne bottle that’s been shaken and now we can finally take the cork off,” said Lee Broughton, chief brand architect, who designed the newly unveiled crest and team with a team of other artists.

And although the team name was first spoken to a silent room, Kindle Betz promised a party to make up for it someday: “We’ll celebrate in person soon enough.”

St. Louis City SC will kick off its first season in 2023, delayed a year due to the coronavirus. Since the announcement nearly a year ago that St. Louis would get a professional soccer team, construction has kicked off on the team’s stadium in the newly dubbed “Downtown West” area near Union Station, the first step to what the team hopes is a revitalization of that area of downtown and the entire region. And although the team is three years from playing, Kindle Betz promised a flurry of announcements in the next six months for eager soccer fans, starting with a plan for ticket deposits in the next few months.

The St. Louis soccer team name was inspired by the 6,000 fan submissions owners received from the public starting in January, with many suggesting the name in one form or another –- so many that there was “clearly a love affair” with the name, Broughton said.

“City” was also appealing to the team ownership because it has a strong international history as a team name, with iconic teams such as Manchester City and Stoke City known by the moniker.

Team backers believe that St. Louis was the first soccer capital in the United States, and the name builds on that history too. It’s a global tradition that the first soccer team in a village, city or town will be named “City,” said Broughton.

“This team really believes that this city can dream bigger than its history, and that’s a huge part of what we want to begin with,” Broughton said. “We get an opportunity to build the perception of a superbrand in the world sport and we believe we’re a world city, so I think this is a wonderful metaphor for how we’re looking at developing this.”

Like Man City, St. Louis’ team will also just go by “City,” adding to the international flavor, Kindle Betz said.

In a city like St. Louis – which is a city but also a geographical region spanning other cities, counties, neighborhoods and even states – the name also has the potential to unite fans and international viewers around both the past and future story of St. Louis while creating the “spirit of a new St. Louis,” the backers said at the reveal.

The team name is a chance to expand the definition of “City” to include everyone in the region, while highlighting those cultures, neighborhoods and “proud heritage,” Kindle Betz said.

“You’re never going to get better than the story that’s developed … and so for me, I fell in love with the story more than the name,” the team owner said. “I love the name of course, but it gives you all the good feels in it. That’s really when my ‘a-ha’ moment hit.”

South County specifically got a shoutout in the video revealing the soccer team’s name. Over scenes of the city and the broader region, a narrator says, “This is our city – our city stretches from Old North to South Grand, our city is east of the river and west of (Interstate) 270, our city is the heart of midtown and historic downtown, U City and Town and Country, Belleville and Oakville,” displaying a photo of a suburban Oakville street. “Our city is north, south, east, west, standing up for one another – the spirit of a new St. Louis. We are St. Louis City SC. This is our crest. This is our home. This is our City.”

MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a recorded video played at the reveal that he thought the team and crest were “absolutely terrific” and also mentioned the homage to soccer’s international history with the “City” name.

“I am so proud to officially welcome St. Louis City SC to Major League Soccer. …. It’s the perfect name for an MLS club in the great city of St. Louis, one of North America’s greatest soccer cities. St. Louis has such a rich soccer history and has been such an important part of building the sport of soccer in the United States and Canada. And I know that your club and your community, including all your great fans, passionate supporters for your club and this region, are going to really live up to this great name. … This is a brand that’s really distinct, I think it’s really cool, and I just can’t wait for when St. Louis City SC kicks off in 2023.”

The inspiration for the crest came from the submissions from fans, but also the city itself, Broughton said at the reveal.

“Quickly the designers gravitated to the St. Louis flag as their inspiration, then we began the heated debates,” he said, although it was never in dispute that the crest would feature the global landmarks that everyone loves about St. Louis, like the Arch and the river. He feels the design has a “sense of modernity” and is “forward looking,” while also adding a “bit of swagger.”

The “SC” in the name stands for soccer club. The common “FC” name is already taken by the Fenton-based U.S. Soccer League team, the St. Louis FC. But the St. Louis SC is a double entendre that also stands for “soccer capital” since that’s what team backers and the MLS believe St. Louis is, Broughton said.

The newly revealed team crest includes the city’s most famous landmark, the Gateway Arch, and is inspired by the city flag of St. Louis. The crest and team colors are red, blue, yellow and gray, with the red signifying the city and the blue signifying the rivers that run through it, the light gray signifying the Arch and the yellow signifying energy. There is no mascot or nickname yet, since those will be developed by fans, Kindle Betz said. One of the colors in the crest was specifically requested by Kindle Betz since it’s her favorite color, but Broughton did not reveal which color that is.

St. Louis City SC merchandise is for sale at the team’s new website, stlcitysc.com.