Out with the old and in with the new.
That is exactly what the USL is doing. Formerly known as USL PRO, the third-tier American soccer league will be known as just simply USL, which stands for United Soccer League. In announcing a new name, the league also released a new USL logo.
via USL’s press release
As explained in the league’s press release, “The new USL mark is the central pillar in a new design philosophy for our league. Inspired by the geometry of the field, its design cues are more akin to a 21st-century startup than those of a monolithic sports league. You will see no sporting or soccer clichés here. The simple shapes of the USL lettering appear as a stencil and hint at its flexible use. The new logo is not a corporate logo, it is a tribal mark, something to be taken to the heart of each club’s community, personalized and worn with pride.”
Another big emphasis of the rebranding of the league is the word united. The U in USL stands for United. As outlined by the league, there is four ways of unity or being united.
"“UNITED CLUBS – The continued expansion of the league will lead to the development of more regional competition, reducing travel costs and further strengthening local and regional rivalries, the lifeblood of a strong soccer league. We are United.UNITED FANS – Our digital evolution continues. We have created an improved fan experience with a new online home that will serve as THE destination for in-depth coverage of the league. Increased interactive content will include video, live games in HD on YouTube, in-game statistics, and the league’s all-new social media hub. We are United.UNITED ACROSS NORTH AMERICA – All aspects of our league have been elevated, both on and off the field, to the extent that the time is right for USL to re-establish its Division 2 status. This year the League will apply for USSF Division 2 sanctioning to accurately reflect the quality of our league, our ownership groups, our stadiums and our fans. We are United.A UNITED BUSINESS – Our sustainable business model continues to attract dynamic and experienced ownership groups that work together to support and enhance what we do every day. We are also a proud partner of Nike Soccer, the official apparel and equipment provider for USL, with the iconic worldwide brand standing as the league’s oldest and most loyal partner. This year, the USL will also make the first of a number of exciting announcements about new commercial partnerships that will add value to the league, our clubs, and the fan experience.”"
The league has grown by leaps and bounds since 2011. Part of this growth has been due to the league’s partnership with MLS teams. What started out as the then USL PRO teams being MLS affiliates has led to MLS teams launching their own USL side. In 2015, there will be 24 teams divided into two division, USL West and USL East. Of the 24, eight are currently run by an MLS organization.
With the new identity, brought a new focus and emphasis on the design not being a corporate logo, but it being a tribal mark and “something to be taken to the heart of each club’s community, personalized and worn with pride.” It’s wise of the league to change up their identity and brand with an influx of teams within the league and more fans than ever heading to the games.
For more on the league’s name change and logo, check out the USL’s website.