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The USL clubs centering local iconography in dazzling kit designs

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 04/26/24, 3:40PM EDT


Birmingham Legion FC’s newly-released ‘Vulcan Kit’ is among the looks paying tribute to city landmarks

Birmingham Legion FC's new Vulcan Kit is among a collection released this season in the USL Championship and League One that use iconic local landmarks or topography as part of their designs. | Photo courtesy Birmingham Legion FC

Soccer clubs that use local landmarks and icons in their crests can be found the world over. You only need to look at Indy Eleven’s use of the statue of Victory – which celebrated the 11th anniversary of its launch on Thursday – or Detroit City FC’s use of the Spirit of Detroit monument as examples.

More recently, though, clubs have been going further and using their city’s icons as the foundation for eye-catching kit designs that don’t just make a statement but represent their connection to the city and community.

Here are six that have been released so far this season in the USL Championship and League One that have a deeper story to tell.

Birmingham Legion FC – The Vulcan Kit

Fittingly, Legion launched The Vulcan Kit on Thursday at the Vulcan Park & Museum underneath the watchful eye of the 56-feet tall cast iron statue that has sat at the top of the Red Mountain for almost a century. The statue was inspired by Roman mythology, in which Vulcan was the god of fire and forge. It was designed by Italian artist Giuseppe Moretti, cast from local iron and is the symbol for Birmingham, to advance the knowledge and understanding of the city’s diverse history and culture and to encourage exploration of the city. 

Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – 10th Anniversary Kit

The Switchbacks are one of the most highly-elevated clubs in American soccer, which goes into the design of its recently launched third kit to celebrate the club’s 10th anniversary season. Using a topological map of the region, the club also incorporated some of the key dates of Colorado Springs’ history into the design including the city’s area code, the year Colorado Springs was founded, the four years that Peterson Air Force Base and Fort Carson, the Air Force Academy, Cheyenne Mountain, and Schriever Air Force Base were founded, the year the Switchbacks were founded, and the altitude at which Weidner Field resides.

One Knoxville SC – Sunsphere Kit

One Knoxville SC has already produced some incredible kits in its short history, but its tribute this season to the Sunsphere – which sits adjacent to the main campus of the University of Tennessee, and recently underwent a fresh blue makeover – was an inspired choice by designer and One Knox supporter Evan Ford. Constructed in 1982 as Knoxville hosted the World’s Fair, the golden dome at the top of the 81-meter-tall tower has become a local icon, one that’s reflected in a sharp on-field design.   

Oakland Roots SC – The Tower Kits

The Roots took one classic element that features on its iconic crest and turned it into a tribute to the Oakland Tribune Tower in both its primary and alternate kits for the 2024 season. Located in downtown Oakland, the Tribune Tower has been an icon locally since it was completed as the highest-standing building in the city constructed in the 1920s. For a club as embedded in The Town’s culture, it was a natural fit for the Roots’ first official design with new partner Charly.

Orange County SC – County Roads Kit

Like the Switchbacks, Orange County used its local topography as it paid tribute to its supporters with its County Roads design. Instead of the Rocky Mountains, though, OCSC laid out a map of the roads that bring fans across the OC to Championship Soccer Stadium on gameday. Named for the “County Roads” tune belted out by the County Line Coalition at the start of each game – after the “Country Roads” tune by John Denver – this has already been a hit with the club’s local fanbase.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC – Three Rivers Kit

From the stands at Highmark Stadium, you get one of the most scenic views in American soccer of the bridges that bring the City of Pittsburgh together. For their first primary uniform with provider Charly this season, the Hounds brought that to the front of its jersey. The kit features both a bridge of the type that crosses the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers and connects the city’s diverse neighborhoods and also the city skyline, mirroring the view fans get at home games.

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