NWSL – What’s In A Name? Boston Breakers


We complete the first half of our look at the origins of the various franchise names in the NWSL with a visit to New England and the oldest name in women’s professional soccer, the Boston Breakers.  Ryan Wood, Boston’s Communications Manager, was kind enough to fill in the blanks:

TAP – Who came up with the name you chose?  Did you solicit local input, or create it in-house?

RW – The original Boston Breakers were founded as a franchise in the Women’s United Soccer Association in the spring of 2000, preparing for the March 2001 debut of the league. At the time, the franchise was operated by Cablevision executive Amos Hostetter and the Team President was Joe Cummings. Joe Cummings and his front office team created a name the team contest that was promoted in local communities during 2000.  The winning entry of “Boston Breakers” came from a young girl – a youth soccer player – from Easton, Massachusetts. The name was then sent out to a marketing agency that created the original logo and colors.

TAP – Is there a meaning behind it (local ties, soccer-related, etc.)?

RW – The logo was based on a wave, which is also called a “Breaker” / “breaking waves.”

TAP – What do you hope the name will represent to your fans?

RW – A few older fans and media types pointed out that “Boston Breakers” was the same name (and similar colors) as a defunct men’s professional football team that played in the United States Football League in 1983 in the very same stadium where the women’s soccer team would play – BostonUniversity’s Nickerson Field.  But the football team was short-lived and largely forgotten and catered to a different target audience, so this didn’t dissuade Breakers officials from going with this name.

(coourtesy – bostonbreakerssoccer.com)

TAP – Who developed your team logo?

RW – In September 2003, the WUSA folded, taking the original Breakers down with them, despite the fact that the club was very popular in New England and drew strong crowds by the standards of women’s soccer at the time. In 2007, a “new” Boston Breakers was formed to play in the start-up Women’s Professional Soccer, due to begin play in March 2009.  Joe Cummings was again named Team President and three players returned from the “old” Breakers.  But it was a totally new business, with new ownership.  Cummings and the investors decided that the Boston Breakers identity still had a lot of traction in the local soccer community, despite the five-year shutdown, and this was the best name to go with, rather than to start from scratch.  However, they did not own the rights to the name or logo.  Those trademarks belonged to the Players Association of the defunct Women’s United Soccer Association.   The “new” Breakers purchased the trademark rights back from the Players Association.

An agency was brought in again in 2008 to make minor, subtle updates to modernize the logo, which was now nearly a decade old.   At this time, some fans and season ticket holders also suggested that the Breakers add an “F.C.” to the club’s name (Boston Breakers FC or F.C.) in keeping with the more modern trend in Major League Soccer and elsewhere to adopt more European style names.  The feeling was that the highly conceptual names (and accompanying furry mascots) of the WUSA – such as Philadelphia Charge, Carolina Courage, and New York Power – were very dated sounding.  The Breakers never seriously considered this, however, feeling the name had its own significant history and appeal inNew Englandas is.

TAP – Do your team colors have any significance?

RW – The colors were used to capture the varied blue colors that one would see in the ocean.

Our thanks to Ryan Wood for his assistance for our latest NWSL ‘What’s in a Name?’ segment, highlighting the franchise name that links the “new” NWSL with its oldest predecessor, the WUSA.