Friday, February 28, 2014

"WE ARE NEW YORK CITY"

Yesterday, I dropped by NYCFC's offices on Third Avenue to meet Carter Daly (the club's Social Media Manager) and Mike Quarino (VP of Ticket Sales & Fan Services). Great guys, very supportive of the work we're doing. I also dropped off a couple scarves (last ones, going quickly!) for them. This morning, I'm treated to this sight:

Outstanding.

Thanks again to Carter and Mike, and Claudio and everyone at team HQ. I'm looking forward to working with you as we march towards 2015.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

"Watch This Space" (UPDATED)

The club just tweeted out an interesting picture:

Interesting. Looks like the branding announcement is coming along...


That's Canal Street in Chinatown, just west of the northwest corner of Canal & Broadway.


Wonder if there's anything special about that location, or if this is the first of many?

Either way, as a commenter on the SportsLogos.net message board said, "That's already one more New York City billboard than I've ever seen from RBNY."


UPDATE:   Here it is!


Very nice.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Get Yer Scarves Here!


I have a limited number of NYCFC supporter scarves left over from Saturday's meeting. I'm selling them for $20 plus $6.25 postage/handling. International shipping is available, cost to depend upon your location. All proceeds will go towards legal fees for incorporating the supporters' group.

If you're interested, let me know with a comment below or contact me on Twitter. Supplies are limited: first come, first served!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Summary of Saturday's Meeting

In lieu of actual minutes, I am posting this summary of our first informal get-together.

The first organizational meeting for the as-yet-unnamed NYCFC supporters' group was held this past Saturday, in the lower level of the Football Factory at Legends Bar. The basement, for those who've never seen a game there, can be curtained off into thirds by large supporter flags. We had the northernmost third, plenty of room for our group.

My co-organizer Anthony, who tweets under the name NYCFC_SC, was stranded by Amtrak at school in Albany, so I chaired the meeting.

I convened the meeting a few minutes after 12:00. In addition to the few dozen potential group members, we had three journalists in attendance: Nick Chavez of Soccer Newsday, Cesar Diaz, Editor-in-Chief for Latino Sports & ThisIsCosmosCountry.com and Peter Nolan of GotSoccer.

Welcoming all who had come out to learn more and show support, I began the meeting by introducing myself and explaining that we had preferred an informal start to the group. I circulated a sign-up sheet to begin building a mailing list. I then asked the assembled supporters about the clubs they follow. We as a group follow mainly English football, but there was no clear consensus beyond that. We had Spurs fans and Arsenal fans, Liverpool and Newcastle supporters. We also had a handful of Manchester United fans, but tellingly only one Manchester City fan.

That led me to my next point, a concern that the club be seen as only for Man City supporters. NYCFC is our local side, and should be able to be followed by all New Yorkers regardless of whatever other affiliations we have.

I also explained that NYCFC had been invited to send a representative but declined. My impression, from conversations with them, is that they want us to develop the supporters’ group on our own, with only moral support coming from the club itself. This is, to my way of thinking, crucial to our future. We are not interested in becoming an "official fan club" but rather an independent voice for supporters.

I also laid out a brief agenda for the next several months:
  1. We have already begun the process of incorporating and applying for 501(c)3 status, meaning future meetings would be more formal, with minutes and an agenda. Not only will this be legally required, but I think it is necessary for our organization.

  2. As the group comes together, we will develop a website and members-only message board to facilitate communication between ourselves. It is crucial that lines of communication are open so that all voices may be heard.

  3. There is a great deal of interest in our eventual stadium atmosphere; songs, chants, tifo and the like. We expect this to grow organically over time, beginning out of these casual conversations.

  4. We will create a strong brand that speaks to the culture of our city. NYCFC's crest and colors are expected to be unveiled via fan vote next month, and once that is in place we can start to be begin the process of branding our group with a name and logo of our own.
That gave me an occasion to lay out some of my personal hopes for both the supporters’ group and NYCFC itself. It is my hope that the club makes a bold statement of independence from Manchester City with their branding. Personally, I don't mind any use of sky blue, provided they continue to pair it with Yankee navy. One color from each of the parent clubs to create something new and unique on the New York sports scene. The crest, however, has to be more than just a modified version of Man City's shield-over-eagle. The general consensus of the group Similarly, we as a supporters group should choose an identity that speaks to our connection to the club and the city without restoring to "New York City FC Supporters". Speaking only for myself, I would rather see an independent name, more "Sons of Ben" than "Timbers Army". I'm also looking for something inclusive, so no "Boys" or "Minuit's Men" or the like.

I then discussed what I saw as the opportunities and challenges facing NYCFC and us as a supporters’ group. The challenges are many:
  1. The first MLS club in New York City proper will draw a great deal of attention, and even small mistakes will be magnified in that bright spotlight. In addition, immediate success will be expected and taken for granted.

  2. If, as expected, NYCFC plays its first several seasons in Yankee Stadium, the park’s structure will make creating an imposing atmosphere extremely difficult. (This provoked a spirited discussion amongst those in attendance.)

  3. NYCFC will have to win over fans of other clubs. The league has failed to establish any significant presence in New York City since its first games in 1996, and that coupled with the rise of international broadcasts has meant our native soccer fans have gravitated to the world’s greatest clubs. We need to encourage fans of foreign clubs from Boca Juniors to Arsenal to Juventus to support their local side. This is, in part, why it’s so important that the club’s independence be stressed.
On the other hand, there is tremendous potential.
  1. New York City is fertile ground for the sport. Soccer is enjoying record popularity among kids in the five boroughs, with nearly 100 youth leagues in the city alone. An untold number of kids pick up the sport every year, a growing pool NYCFC can tap for support.

  2. MLS has given fans in New York an amazing opportunity to get in on the ground floor. How many Yankee fans got to experience their team’s early days first-hand? Our pro sports teams have histories stretching back decades if not a century or more. NYCFC is that rare chance not only to watch a top-level sports club begin in our city, but to help build that club’s culture from the ground up.
In that vein, as we move forward, there will be many opportunities for fans to get involved with our supporters’ group. That involvement could be as casual as meeting up to watch road games or as extensive as becoming an officer and shaping organizational policy. I am expecting our members to step forward and volunteer their talents, which will be made much easier once we have a message board.

I closed the meeting by thanking everyone for attending, and we broke into small discussion groups. The time and place of the next meeting will be announced in the coming weeks.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Even Man United fans agree: New York is BLUE

In case anyone's still falling for the nonsense that NYCFC us only for Manchester City fans, this ought to put a stop to it. At our organizational meeting at the Football Factory, I ran into some Manchester United fans looking to support their local side:

They'll probably take plenty of nonsense from people more interested in building walls than supporting their local side. Good on them for standing up for New York.

I don't care if you're Blue Manchester or Red Manchester, Blue London or Red-and-White London (or even Lilywhite London). No matter what allegiances you may have to foreign clubs. You may be Barça or Real Madrid, Lazio or Roma. But in New York City, NYCFC is our local side.

NYC, after all, is Blue.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

First meeting!

We had a great first meeting today at the Football Factory.


I'll post tomorrow and Monday with details from the meeting, but I want to first take a moment to say thanks.  Thanks to our hosts Robbie and Jack at Legends Bar, and thanks to all the supporters who spent a beautiful Saturday afternoon inside talking about a football club that won't play a game for over a year. Amazing.

Thank you all, and I look forward to our next meeting.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Upper 90 Soccer, Spreading the News

Upper 90 Soccer has a nice piece on their website about our meeting tomorrow:
NYCFC Supporters' Group To Hold First Meeting Tomorrow
Posted on February 21, 2014

New York City is red–or is it?

Tomorrow, fans of New York City FC will hold their first supporters’ group meeting at the Football Factory in Midtown Manhattan. Together, the group hopes to gather ideas for tifo, chants, and much more, per a release from its website.

While many might question the support of a club without a crest, home, or even much of an identity, it's great to see NYCFC fans already banding together along with the backing of the team itself. We're not sure what the city’s soccer landscape will look like come 2015–when NYCFC officially enter MLS play–but, with the blue side of town already staking its claim, that’s the type of fandom we wholeheartedly support.

Here are details for the event, which will also provide the opportunity for fans to nab official supporters' scarves:
First Organizational Meeting
Saturday, Feb. 22 — 12 Noon
Football Factory at Legends Bar
6 West 33rd St.
Feature photo credit: Marco A. Perugini
Thanks for helping us to spread the word!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Scarves!

I'll tell you what's in the box: scarves!


What's a soccer fan without a scarf? And we have some beauties. Ready to proclaim that New York only has one MLS club, and that club is True Blue.


These are the first NYCFC scarves available anywhere. And only the second piece of merchandise commercially available anywhere.

So how do you get one, you ask? I'm glad you did. This limited run will be available exclusively at the first organizational Supporters' Group meeting this Saturday at noon, at the Football Factory in Legends Bar.

Again, the meeting details are:

First Organizational Meeting
Saturday, February 22nd
12:00 noon
Football Factory at Legends Bar
6 West 33rd Street
New York City

If we have any remaining after this meeting, we'll make them available online. But no guarantees.

The scarves were manufactured by Sports Scarf, and feature sky blue on one side, navy on the reverse, with two slogans claiming the city is ours.


Perfect for holding up in unison when those Jersey Boys come to visit the big city.

There will be more scarves available later. Different scarves, from the club itself and from the supporters' group once it has a name and logo. But there will ever only be one first scarf. For those of us who have been fans since Day One, that means something. And it will mean so much more when we wear them to that first match in 2015.

Don't miss out on this very limited run. I'll see you at the Football Factory.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What's In the Box?

Special Delivery, NYCFC fans. What's in the box?


Got something special from UPS.


No, it isn't poor old Mrs. Detective Mills. It's a much more pleasant surprise for anyone attending our first Supporters' Group meeting this Saturday at the Football Factory.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

First Supporters' Group Meeting!

I am proud to announce that the first organization meeting for our Supporters' Group will be held next weekend!

First Organizational Meeting
Saturday, February 22nd
12:00 noon
Football Factory at Legends Bar
6 West 33rd Street
New York City

We are meeting at the Football Factory, located within Legends Bar at 6 West 33rd Street in Midtown Manhattan. That's between 5th Avenue and Broadway, across the street from the Empire State Building.

I hope you'll be able to join us - this is an informal meeting, a get-together for the city's football fans glad to finally have representation in Major League Soccer.

I don't know what the full agenda will be, but I'm hoping that we'll be able to start down the road of incorporating our merry little band. If nothing else, we can start to develop our club culture - bring your songs, your ideas for tifo, your chants and your ideas for what you'd like the first NYCFC supporters' group to be.

I'll have a special surprise for the group - more details to come!

See you at the Football Factory next Saturday!


View Larger Map

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Alexi Lalas: Loans from MCFC will count as DPs

Head coach Jason Kreis made news recently when he said that NYCFC will "have the ability to take four players on loan from (Manchester City".

Now soccer analyst and former defender Alexi Lalas appears to clarify how that might work: So if I'm reading this correctly, because the four players would be coming from NYCFC's parent club, they would have to conform to MLS salary cap regulations or be paid as Designated Players. That would explain why Kreis is looking specifically at their U-21 and U-18 squads, to find young talent that wouldn't impact his ability to also sign high-profile DPs.

But... four? Are they adding another DP slot by 2015?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Counting Down!

NYCFC Chief Business Officer Tim Pernetti has this very cool pic for us today:

Outstanding. We've had a peek at that countdown clock before, but not quite as good as this one.

Not all that much time, actually. Can't wait!c

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Crest Concept - Przemek Michalowicz (UPDATED)

(Scroll down for updates to the original post)

There are some great concept crests trending now on Twitter under the hashtag #myNYCFC. I obviously can't feature them all, but I want to give a shout-out to the best ones, the ones I could be happy with if the club adopted them.

This one, more modern than those I've featured in the past, would fit that bill.

@p_michalowicz (Twitter)

It's by Przemek Michalowicz, who identifies himself as being from Poland and who goes by @p_michalowicz on Twitter.

I love how the spire of the Empire State Building is incorporated into the seam of the ball. Really nice work.

On the whole, I'm not a fan of gradients, but a flat version would have to be designed to embroidery and other applications. If they could get the bottom rays right, that could be very sharp. I also love the little "NYC" secondary logo in the left corner. Outstanding.



UPDATE 1:   Przemek sends in this new sheet, with a flat version of the crest and a better look at the secondary:

@p_michalowicz (Twitter)

In my opinion, the secondary works best keeping the ball light colored (as opposed to the photo-negative effect). That would be perfect for smaller applications like Twitter avatars and bookmark icons.

He also sends us a follow-up showing some of his inspirations:

@p_michalowicz (Twitter)

Magnificent. Never saw that coming, but it makes perfect sense. I love this concept more and more.

He has also posted two new renderings, one a handy all-in-one:

@p_michalowicz (Twitter)

We also have this slightly tweaked version he's calling the "final tweet proposal":

@p_michalowicz (Twitter)

I'm really impressed. I really hope the club's eventual design can live up to the amazing creativity we're seeing right now.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Revised Crest Concept - Milo Kowalski (Now SKY's the limit!)

I've been featuring crest concepts on this blog almost since it started. One of the best came from the mind of local designer Milo Kowalski, who created an amazing unified design based around NYC iconography.

At the time, I said the only real issue I had was his navy-and-orange color scheme. Lines up nicely with the city's official colors, but I prefer the navy-and-sky the club has been using so far.

Apparently, I'm not alone - after seeking feedback on Twitter, Kowalski has modified his proposal to utilize the club's interim (and hopefully permanent) colors.


Gorgeous. Instantly jumps right up there to the top of the list.

Outstanding. And perhaps best of all, he has an interlocking monogram!


Wow. That's gorgeous. Looks great on a baseball cap.


I would buy about twenty of those caps today, if I could. Are you listening, Mr. Pernetti?

I also like Kowalski's revised uniform, with sky blue shirt and navy shorts.


Inspired by Man City, perhaps, but hardly a junior varsity carbon copy. Just what NYCFC will need to create its own brand on the global stage. Not to mention move tons and tons of merchandise.


The full concept is here - check it out. I sure hope Tim Pernetti and the other club brass do.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Coach Kreis Talks to CityTV - Full Interview

Manchester City recently posted their full interview with NYCFC head coach Jason Kreis:



This is the interview we earlier saw previewed, in which the coach mentioned NYCFC has the ability to take four Man City players on loan.

There are no additional bombshells about our club, but we get a good sense of his coaching philosophy, what he brought to Real Salt Lake as a manager, and what he sees as the challenges ahead.

It's worth watching in full.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

One Fan's Wish for the Club's Design

The "myNYCFC" promotion has brought a lot of attention to the club's branding process. And as we're on the verge of getting a club crest, I've been thinking a lot about what I want the eventual design to be.
  1. First and foremost, I'm hoping that the club formalizes its temporary navy-and-sky color scheme. Some are worried that sky blue is too reminiscent of Man City, but even as an Arsenal fan that doesn't bother me. I like the double-blues because it would be unique on the NYC sporting landscape.

  2. Second of all, I want a crest that speaks to New York City. I don't yet know what that means, it could be incorporating a local landmark or featuring a city icon or something like that. Just so long as the new crest doesn't borrow heavily (or better yet, at all) from the Man City badge.

  3. Finally, and most importantly, I really hope that the club brand includes an "NY" monogram of some type. Preferably an interlocking one. Most of the city's professional teams have an "NY" or "NYC" monogram in their set:
And frankly, I think the Cosmos and Rangers would benefit from adding one.

There are some places only an interlocking monogram will do. A baseball cap, for instance. A part of the essential New Yorker uniform, it can be as lofty as a symbol of the city and as specific as a walking billboard for the club. How amazing would it be if NYCFC could create their own navy-and-sky version of this?
I think that's one of the reasons I like Milo Kowalski's branding concept so much. He understands the importance of an iconic monogram:

We'll see what the club has in store for us. Hopefully they'll include some of the items on this list.

Friday, February 7, 2014

More On the Team Crest

The #myNYCFC "Badge of Badges" contest is a fun diversion, but is also giving us an interesting peek into the club's timeline for a permanent crest design.

Hiding in the Terms & Conditions for the promotion is this little gem:
2. Promotion Outline
2.1 The Promotion will begin on February 4, 2014, and end on March 31, 2014. During this period, Participants will be permitted to submit badges in accordance with clause 4.1 below. On or around February 10, 2014, NYCFC will announce, via its official website, its social media channels, its subscriber lists and its official spokespersons, the identity of the Designer. The Designer, with inspiration from the badges submitted by the Participants, will create badge designs for the NYCFC Club Badge, two (2) of which badge designs will be unveiled by NYCFC , via its official website, its social media channels, its subscriber lists and its official spokespersons, on or around February 24, 2014. From the date of the unveiling, the public will have until March 9, 2014 to vote on the badge that it would like to see become the NYCFC Club Badge. On March 10, 2014, NYCFC will announce which badge has received the most votes and is therefore the NYCFC Club Badge.
Did you catch that? That's outstanding news.

As early as next Monday, we'll know who the crest designer is. That designer may or may not adopt elements from the fan designs. That designer will then create two designs to be unveiled "on or around February 24, 2014", with a two-week fan voting period to follow. Then the honest-to-goodness official NYCFC crest will be unveiled on March 10th.

After nearly a year of speculation, of wondering what the club's branding will look like, of suppositions and guesses and "#NYisBlue" hashtags and wishing like heck that they create a New York City-centric design, we'll all know soon.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Coach Kreis: "We Have the Ability to Take Four Players on Loan from Man City"

NYCFC head coach Jason Kreis, in England with director of Director of Football Operations Claudio Reyna, sat down for an interview with Manchester City's "City Today" program, in which he gave some interesting details into the movement of players between the two clubs:



The NYCFC section begins at 0:58.

After a few moments discussing the culture shock of a new time zone and driving on the opposite side of the road, the coach gets to the heart of his English jaunt:
"The club has been terrific with us, in helping us adapt as quickly as possible. We'll have the ability to take four players on loan from the club here, so I'm looking a lot at the younger players in the U-21s and the U-18s at the moment, and also the players that are out on loan.

We have a very big interest in bringing some City players over to join us in New York, and I certainly think that there's the talent there, and the ambition is there as well, so we'll have to get with some of those guys over the next six months to a year and see whether or not that would be something that they would like as well."
That's big news. Obviously the fan focus has been on the Designated Players and what famous foreign names might be brought in to start the club off running, but it's heartening to be reminded that Coach Kreis is focused on the making full use of the Man City resources.

The full interview will be posted later this week, and we'll see what else the coach had to say.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Here's my NYCFC

Following up on the thought experiment NYCFC posted yesterday afternoon, here's a quick stab at the crest.

Not very traditional, I admit, but I was looking for something bold. And I can't pass up an opportunity to remind the Jersey Boys in which state the Statue of Liberty actually stands.

Monday, February 3, 2014

#myNYCFC - "Badge of Badges" (UPDATED)

Just a few minutes ago, the club tweeted out this picture:

Very interesting.

They're obviously inviting us to have a little fun, and not crowd-sourcing the new crest as some have suggested. But I'm wondering how much we can read into it.

The shield shape is very reminiscent of, if not exactly like, that found on the Manchester City crest. The NYCFC version is slightly narrower, but not exact. Is this actually the shape of the crest, being unveiled in a teaser? We don't have any idea.

And how about the color scheme? All along I've been presuming that the club would use the navy-and-sky combination from their launch crest, but this background is almost a true black.

Still, it'll be fun to see what people make of this. No doubt there'll be a long line of snark as well.




UPDATE:

The club has announced that this is part of a "Badge of Badges" program:
New York City FC today invited fans to get creative and participate in a first of its kind campaign in sports.

Supporters have been asked to create their very own soccer badge design which, once submitted, will become a pixel of the official New York City FC team badge mosaic to be revealed in March of this year. This resulting “badge of badges” mosaic will become a lasting tribute to the founding fans of New York City’s newest sports team who were with them from the very beginning.

The final Club badge mosaic will allow fans to zoom in to find their own design permanently displayed within the shield. A physical manifestation of the mosaic will also be on display in the Club’s permanent facilities.

There is no limit to the number or nature of designs a fan can submit and designs can include photographs, sketches, fans’ names, a pet’s name, or even a seven a side team – whatever the “designer” feels represents them as a fan of New York City FC.

In order to facilitate the design and submission process, the Club has created a badge generation tool, known as the “badge configurator”. It is simple enough to allow all fans to participate in this most significant of symbols for the Club.

The user experience includes a comprehensive desktop and tablet interface, complete with multiple badge shapes, colors, icons, patterns, fan generated photos, images and multi-font text options. Fans will also have access to a lighter mobile version which is designed to allow the integration of photos of New York City landmarks and scenes, in real-time to create a truly iconic badge.

See how it works below.

Log on to nycfc.com/mynycfc

1. Choose from a variety of badge shapes, colors, icons and patterns.
2. Personalize your badge by uploading a photo.
3. Finalize and submit your design
4. Share it on Twitter and Facebook using #myNYCFC

“New York City FC will be a Club for its fans, which is why they should have a hand in creating its identity,” said New York City FC Chief Executive Officer Ferran Soriano , “We want the badge to be an authentic representation of New York City’s spirit and personality. This design tool will enable fans throughout New York City and the world, to send in their concepts and to be part of the creation of New York City FC.”

“As a former player, I know the pride an athlete feels when wearing the badge of their club,” said New York City FC Head Coach Jason Kreis. “In this case, I feel it will be all the more special having had the fans participate in it in such a meaningful way.”

This announcement follows recent announcements from New York City FC, including the hiring of Jason Kreis as the team’s first head coach, as well as the hiring of Assistant Coach Miles Joseph and Head of Player Recruitment David Lee.
Hmm. Should be fun. Looking forward to trying out this "badge configurator" soon.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Empire of Soccer: "Favorable returns for NYCFC after Stadium Town Hall"

Empire of Soccer is reporting some good news from last month's neighborhood town hall in the South Bronx:
Favorable returns for NYCFC after Stadium Town Hall
By Dave Martinez

Opposition for a new soccer stadium in the South Bronx was vocal at a town hall held earlier this month, but returns prove there was a silent majority present.

News 12 in the Bronx caught up with Bronx BID Executive Director Cary Goodman who revealed the results of a town hall survey.

“Three out of four people would like to see a soccer stadium built,” Goodman told News 12.

The survey questioned attendees about the stadium proposal and their position. In order to get a better scope of interest and credibility, it also asked whether or not participants were local residents. The key question discussed in this report asked “DO YOU THINK A SOCCER STADIUM IS A GOOD IDEA FOR RIVER AVENUE?” To that, NYCFC saw impressive backing from the local community.

While the support is impressive, the opposition’s resolve seems equally so. Asked if their opinion would change about the stadium if it received no public funds, only one in five surveyed said they would consider the proposal.

“How do we mitigate in terms of potential harm?” asks South Bronx Unite’s Michael Johnson, an attendee of the Town Hall and a local community leader. “Such as closing 153rd street, relocating a business that has been here for decades and the highway, so we have 350 workers that he relocated, the ramp to the highway has to be closed.”

The next salvo in this debate will come from NYCFC’s corner, with a town hall of their own planned in the coming months.

“I know for a fact that it is a priority of New York City F.C. to present the accurate facts related to the soccer stadium project and their commitment to this community in the near future in a forum similar to this this evening,” Brian Smith, Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations of the New York Yankees said at the original town hall. “That information will be confirmed and shared with all shortly.”
That's very good news indeed. The original meme coming out of the meeting was overwhelming community opposition based on a very few and very loud opponents, which wasn't helped by Empire of Soccer running their coverage under a headline like "New York City F.C. Stadium Town Hall Turns Ugly". Plenty of other media picked up the headline and ran with it—especially on social media—to the point where a casual observer could have been forgiven for thinking that the entire South Bronx was in an uproar over the very thought.

We'll see what comes next.