clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A Brief History and Rating of MLS Rebrands

Let’s take a look at how a few MLS teams have reimagined themselves over the years.

MLS: New York City FC at Orlando City SC Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Sports teams rebranding themselves isn’t anything new. Times change, and a logo, name, or colorway that worked at one time might fall out of fashion. Following the news that the Montreal Impact have completed an...interesting rebrand, I thought it would be cool to take a look at Major League Soccer teams that have undergone rebrands, and evaluate how successful the effort was.

Teams will be graded on points out of 10, and this is completely subjective. Let me also state up top that I almost always despise when teams have a giant soccer ball in their crest, and because of that I will viciously deduct points for any crests that have soccer balls in them. You have been warned.

LA Galaxy

The Galaxy decided the arrival of David Beckham in 2007 meant that the time was ripe for a facelift. The team designed a new logo and made its colors white, gold, and navy blue.

In short, the facelift was much needed. The old logo was extremely 90s, and while that wasn’t a bad thing in itself, it just didn’t look like something a professional soccer team should still be using. It forcibly reminds me of a logo for a mini golf course, laser tag arena, or space themed pizzeria, which is not great The new one has gone on to be one of the most recognizable in Major League Soccer, so the decision was certainly a good one.

Rebrand Rating: 9/10.

Sporting Kansas City

Formerly the Kansas City Wizards, Sporting Kansas City changed its name, colors, and crest in 2011 while also beginning play in Children’s Mercy Park. The team’s old logo was just that, a logo instead of a traditional shield or crest that soccer teams almost always employ. As such, it looked extremely dated by 2011, and the time was ripe for change.

The new crest was and is a great one. It uses the team’s color scheme well and has some nice touches relating to Kansas City. Bonus points for not deciding to retroactively stick a soccer ball in it somewhere.

Rebrand Rating: 9/10.

San Jose Earthquakes

I would have sworn the Earthquakes rebranded longer ago than 2014, but apparently not. The team’s old logo was at least a shield, and while it had historical significance with the club being around since 1974, it was time for a long overdue change.

For my money, the new logo almost nails it, but falls at the hurdle of not being able to resist putting a slightly smaller soccer ball front and center, which means I knock off points. However, the shield itself looks good, the colors are striking, and it was pretty different than what was already in the league at the time.

Rebrand Rating: 7/10.

Columbus Crew SC

Another 2014 rebrand that felt a lot longer ago to me, this is the best of the bunch in my book. While I didn’t really hate the old logo with the three-man construction crew, it was about to look very outdated with the direction the rest of the league was going, and a change was necessary. Columbus absolutely knocked it out of the park.

Keep the team’s colors? Check. Design a crisp, striking logo that evokes the city’s German roots? Check. Throw in some references to the state flag of Ohio and the year the team was formed while not overcrowding things? Check, and check. Bravissimo, chef’s kiss, etc.

Rebrand Rating: 10/10.

D.C. United

D.C. chose to revamp its logo in 2015, perhaps wanting to look fresh and clean ahead of starting play at Audi Field a few years later. The result is good, but not great.

They get points for ditching the soccer ball, and using a bolder red, while also bringing back the three stars from the team’s original logo is a nice touch. It doesn’t look super different to me, but hey, at least the ball is gone.

Rebrand Rating: 6.5/10.

Chicago Fire

This is where the fun begins. [/Cracks knuckles and rolls up sleeves.] The Fire rebranded in 2019, with plenty of people unsure if it was necessary in the first place. Once the new logo dropped, the team’s fans were pissed, and understandably so. Just look at this.

I honestly liked the old logo, and I still do! It’s completely different than what anyone else had in MLS, and there still isn’t anything like it. What they changed to instead is...bad. In fact, it’s so bad, that the team is going to change it after just one year of using it. That thing in the middle of it looks poorly drawn and weird and I legitimately don’t know what it’s supposed to be, which is a problem. Sure, the oval shield was the first of its kind in MLS, but that’s because ovals look bad — just like that crest. They get one point for not putting a soccer ball on the damn thing.

Rebrand Rating: 1/10.

Houston Dynamo

The Dynamo rebranded after the 2020 season ended, and I honestly forgot that it happened. It’s okay, but I don’t love it.

No more soccer ball is a good move, and I like the decision to go minimal with the little lightning bolt getting thrown in there. Apparently the “H” and “D” are designed in a way that pays tribute to Houston’s waterways so that’s cool. It also looks like they might be switching to a deeper orange? For some reason it forcibly reminds me of a baseball team’s logo though, probably because of the interlocking letters.

Rebrand Rating: 6.5/10.

Montreal Impact/Club de Foot Montreal

Let me start by saying that I’m not entirely sure Montreal needed a rebrand. I don’t think the old logo was a bad one. Sure, it was beginning to be a different style than a lot of the league’s other logos, but not in a bad way. What they switched to though...oof.

At first glance, the new logo looks just fine, maybe even good. Sure Club de Foot Montreal is an unnecessary mouthful that doesn’t sound particularly good, but it could be worse (looking at you Miami). They incorporated the Fleur de Lis well, and the idea of using M’s and metro arrows to make a snowflake is a cool one. At second glance’s an anus. The snowflake, and therefore the crest, looks like an anus. And just to prove I’m not the only one who sees it, I refer you to this tweet.

Thankfully there’s nary a soccer ball to be found, and the royal blue looks nice.

Rebrand Rating 2/10.

I know what you’re thinking, “Ben, they put an anus on their crest and you gave them a 2/10?”

Yes, reader, yes I did. Partly because I find the whole thing very funny, and partly because they aren’t the first people to accidentally put an anus on something when they weren’t paying close enough attention. Just ask Greendale Community College’s Dean Pelton.

What do you think of my ratings? Was I about right or did I miss the mark on anything? As always, please have your say in the comments.