RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Carolina RailHawks will be renamed North Carolina FC as part of a plan to bring men’s and women’s professional soccer to the Triangle.
The rebranding announcement was made Tuesday by club owner Steve Malik and President and General Manager Curt Johnson.
“This is a brand restatement,” said Malik. “We aspire to be at the top level of both men’s and women’s professional soccer, so we are pursuing MLS and NWSL bids as well as a new stadium. We made a conscious decision to brand ourselves as North Carolina’s professional club. A united soccer community will be one of the keys to reaching these goals.”
The club’s new logo and colors were also revealed Tuesday.
The new crest features several elements that tie North Carolina’s rich culture and history together. The white five-point star sits at the peak of NCFC’s crest and is a symbol of the star on the North Carolina state flag. The star embodies North Carolina as a whole, and represents the state’s admission as the 12th US state. The lower right point of the NCFC star representing the Triangle area geographical shape stands alone to place emphasis on the club’s location. “FC,” the acronym for football club, lies between two airplane wings as an ode to North Carolina’s slogan: “First in Flight.” Additionally, the primary crest colors “Atlantic Blue” and “Cardinal Red” are inspired by the state flag and complemented by “Southern Gold,” a nod to the legendary accomplishments of North Carolina’s athletes throughout the years.
“We wanted a crest that embodied the symbols that are synonymous with the state of North Carolina,” said Johnson. “The star, the triangle, the wings and the colors are all nods to the state’s rich culture and tradition.”
Malik said there will be an “aggressive public campaign” to being an MLS franchise to the area in 12 to 18 months.
He also said he plans to finalize a location and begin construction on a 20,000+ seat stadium within the next year.
“We feel we are well positioned for this,” Malik continued. “The market is ready for an MLS team based on our geographical location, population growth, dynamic economic environment and significant soccer participation. MLS requires a minimum of 20,000 seats with amenities in order to maximize revenue, and a new stadium is vital to our plans as it would increase the economic impact in the area and allow us to better showcase the sport.”
North Carolina FC season tickets are now on sale.