The National Women’s Soccer League’s newest expansion franchise will be known as Racing Louisville FC in recognition of local tradition and as a nod to the game on a global scale.
Racing Louisville FC begins play in the spring of 2021 with backing from Soccer Holdings, LLC, the same group managing two-time USL Championship title winner Louisville City FC. Both the women’s and men’s sides will call Lynn Family Stadium home while training daily at a new $15 million facility fewer than two miles away.
Soccer Holdings commissioned the renowned Matthew Wolff Design firm — which has also created crests for Los Angeles FC and New York City FC, among others — on the look of its NWSL club announced Wednesday. The Racing Louisville FC logo combines the fleur de lis with a unique color palette: lavender and midnight violet.
“We couldn’t be happier with the work Matthew has done in creating a unique and identifiable brand for Racing Louisville FC,” said Soccer Holdings’ president, Brad Estes. “The color palette and core elements in the crest allow for creative merchandising opportunities we hope our supporters will love.”
Soccer Holdings, via the LouCity ticket office, is now accepting season ticket deposits of $50 per seat toward Racing Louisville FC’s inaugural campaign. Click here or call (502) 568-2489 for more information.
Racing is a moniker used around the world by soccer clubs close to auto, horse and cycling tracks. This marks its first use in the United States with Louisville, of course, home to Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby.
Matthew Wolff said lavender is also unique to Racing Louisville FC, as no other pro sports team in the country features that color. The designer selected lavender to sit comfortably alongside Louisville City FC’s deep purple.
Wolff spoke with hundreds of fans and female soccer players during his process in deciding to use the fleur de lis as Racing Louisville FC’s key design element.
“I noticed Louisvillians view their city as the intersection of the south and midwest, along with a cross section of colors. One identifying mark is the fleur de lis,” Wolff said. “The stylized lily flower from the former royal arms of France, the fleur de lis it is firmly embedded into Louisville’s history and culture. It is a symbol of identification and a point of pride.”
NWSL expansion to Louisville was first revealed in the fall of 2019, setting up the city for its first top-tier professional sports franchise since the Kentucky Colonels basketball team ceased operations in 1976. Already, PNC Bank has signed on as a founding sponsor, serving as the club’s official bank with logo placement on the backs of kits.
Nine other teams make up the NWSL, which was scheduled to play a 24-game regular season until the COVID-19 pandemic altered sports calendars. In recent weeks, the NWSL has staged its Challenge Cup under strict safety regulations to make up for some lost time. The competition includes United States Women’s National Team mainstays such as Rose Lavelle, Crystal Dunn, Kelley O’Hara, Julie Ertz and Lindsey Horan.
James O’Connor, Soccer Holdings’ executive vice president of development, is tasked with leading an international search for Racing Louisville FC’s coach and technical staff before signing players
“We are very excited to launch our brand — a first step in bringing our team to life,” said O’Connor, who initially constructed and coached LouCity’s championship-winning roster before overseeing Major League Soccer’s Orlando City SC. “We have interviewed many coaching candidates in the last few months and are in the final stages of selecting our first coach for Racing Louisville FC.
“We will provide our supporters with a great technical team ranging from coaches to players who will benefit from our world-class stadium and training facilities.”
Lynn Family Stadium, the soccer-specific facility just east of downtown Louisville, will be able to accommodate 15,304 fans once COVID-19 protocols are lifted. Meanwhile, Soccer Holdings’ new training facility just down the road at Louisville's Champions Park will include 30,000 square feet of indoor space with separate locker rooms for the women’s and men’s clubs as well as seven fields.
Key events leading up to Racing Louisville FC’s launch consist of an NWSL expansion draft and college draft. Additionally, the re-entry wire could make existing NWSL players available to Louisville’s club, while Racing’s staff can negotiate with other prospects whose current contracts are set to expire heading into next season.