The Reinvention of MLS Clubs in 2015

Many clubs, like Seattle and Columbus, could be leaders in reinvention for MLS this season
by Katherine Rupp   |   Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Major League Soccer (MLS) 2012 Season Preview

In late 2014, the Columbus Crew rebranded to become Columbus Crew SC in the upcoming season of 2015.

The Seattle Sounders have recently hired new General Manager and President of Soccer, Garth Lagerwey, who previously had the position at Real Salt Lake.

These two teams have made some good offseason moves already and to think, we’re about 15 days away from preseason.

Additionally, the MLS SuperDraft is in nearly a week, which will add numbers to rosters that many teams have stacked with great talent, including the aforementioned Crew and Sounders.

Columbus Crew SC, most recently known as the Columbus Crew, or even just The Crew, is a founding member of Major League Soccer, and so it is well deserved to have a rebrand and refresh.

The team, sometimes referred to as ‘America’s Hardest Working Team’ because of the previous logo of three men in hard hats with assumed difficult jobs, will be now known as Columbus Crew SC in the upcoming season here in 2015.

Crew SC were smart to bring in their now Chairman Anthony Precourt. Under Precourt’s watch, Gregg Berhalter was brought in to lead Columbus as the head coach, where in his first season in 2014, Berhalter and the Crew went to the MLS Playoffs but lost in the conference semis.

However, 2015 looks to be a reinvigorated season with former Crew and Kansas City player, Kei Kamara, back in Columbus, as well as designated player Frederico Higuain was recently signed to a new contract. Additionally, Columbus has a handful of young players and homegrown players bursting at the seams with talent. Look for Columbus to have their reinvention be almost like a revelation for the Eastern conference.

Now in the Western conference, look to Seattle to be a team of reinvention in 2015. Although Seattle may not seem like obvious choice because of its larger payroll, high profile DPs, and huge fanbase, the Sounders look to showcase what kind of clubs they are on field and off the field.

The Sounders are continually looking to raise the stakes when it comes to the quality of players acquired, cultivated or traded (see: Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins, Marco Pappa, Ozzie Alonso, and former Sounder, DeAndre Yedlin). Because of the aspirations of the club, including USL PRO and possibly a soccer specific stadium for the Sounders, they hired RSL’s former GM Lagerwey, who has experience in those areas.

Although there shouldn’t be too much of a difference with the play on the field – especially since Sigi Schmidt will still be at the helm as head coach – the Seattle Sounders could be making some waves as the season rolls on, and in future years, in terms of smart business moves.

Obviously there are other moves that are happening in the MLS offseason that are worthy of clubs being recognized for their refresh.

However, with one club being there from the beginning in MLS (Columbus) and the other having been an expansion team (Seattle), it’s interesting to see the differences between how clubs go about their own reinvention. San Jose is certainly worthy of a nod to their new stadium and badge, as is Kansas City who went through its own rebrand a few years ago.

But this season, look for Seattle and Columbus to lead the way to, not reinvent the wheel, but reinvent their own respective brands to make a good impression within their own communities, regions, and in MLS.

Katherine RUPP

Nationality:
USA
College:
Drake University
Club Domestic:
Sporting KC
Club Foreign:
Tottenham Hotspur
Unabashed Minnesotan by birth. Tried reliving the glory days of collegiate intramural soccer championships but an ACL tear dashed future hopes of adult recreational greatness. Covering a city’s team that’s too big for one state: SKC.
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