The “Crew” may be gone from Columbus Crew SC’s official name, but the club believes it won’t soon be forgotten.
The reigning MLS Cup champions announced Monday that, as part of a rebranding effort, they would be going by “Columbus SC” going forward. However, team officials are hoping supporters will still call the team the “Crew,” much like England’s Everton FC are known as the “Toffees” or Arsenal FC are referred to as the “Gunners.”
The team’s black, gold and white colour scheme will remain the same. However, they will adopt a new crest, shaped like a vertical Ohio flag containing a large C. The shapes of the C in the crest and the accompanying font are inspired by the geometry of the New Crew Stadium, scheduled to open in July.
“The current direction of our Club and our city provides a natural time to examine our identity going forward,” Crew president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said on the team’s website. “Our identity and brand evolution includes a shift in our mindset to be consistent contenders on the pitch, but also includes evolving our look both in the community and across competitions. With the upcoming completion of our new, modern, dynamic stadium, our world-class OhioHealth Performance Center, and coming off an MLS Cup championship, our marks are aligned with where we are headed as a city and as an organization. We are proud to represent Columbus on the global stage of soccer and aspire to help elevate the city and honor it for what it has done for the Club. We are Columbus Soccer Club, we are The Crew, and we will always be the Black & Gold.”
It’s unclear exactly when the change will fully take effect, though it’s likely to be for the 2022 season. The club’s website domain remains ColumbusCrewSC.com; as of Monday evening, it still prominently featured the old circular crest. The team has already played games this season — as recently as Saturday, May 8 — with the circular crest on their jerseys. In fact, players can be seen wearing that crest in a video introducing the new brand on the club’s website and social media (it’s visible at approximately the 1:22 mark below).
The move was unpopular with supporters when it first leaked over the weekend, and it seemed the sentiment had not changed once it was made official on Monday. According to the Columbus Dispatch, an independent supporters’ group, the Nordecke, only learned of the change on Friday, May 7, and said in a statement released Sunday, May 9, that they were “deeply saddened” by it and urged the club to reconsider.
The Columbus Crew were one of the founding clubs of Major League Soccer and started play in 1996 with a logo featuring a trio of construction workers underneath the words “THE CREW.” The club introduced a redesigned crest in 2015, adding “SC” to their name.
The club won the MLS Cup in 2008 and 2020, the Supporters’ Shield in 2004, 2008 and 2009, and the U.S. Open Cup in 2002.