Ever since modern USL play started in 2010, the secondary league to MLS has been rapidly growing. Starting with 16 teams in their first season, USL has grown to 30 teams for the 2017 season with expansion teams in Atlanta, Memphis, Birmingham and Austin (for now) set for 2019 as well as teams in Fresno and Las Vegas next year. 10 teams are owned by MLS teams and with a third division being set up as we speak, USL is growing.
But while all the talk is on the new teams in USL, sometimes those USL teams who have been here since before the beginning need an update too. That’s just what the Harrisburg City Islanders seem to be doing as they appear to be in line for a rebrand as “Penn FC.”
With a new site, pennfc.com already in place, it certainly appears like it’s a tease for a potential rebrand. While it’s not confirmed, a Wednesday 1:3o ET press conference will likely announce the rebrand, as the team who started play in 2004 will seemingly change their name and logo for the first time. For the past week, Rush Soccer, a Colorado based soccer youth development group, has also been teasing an announcement in connection with Harrisburg.
— Rush Soccer (@RushSoccer) November 14, 2017
If Penn FC is indeed going to be the new name, it’s certainly following the trend of having traditional European soccer names. While some originality may be going away, it’ll ease confusion as not too many people outside of Harrisburg could figure out exactly why a team in the middle of Pennsylvania would be named after an island. The team plays on an island called “City Island,” that’s why they’re called that.
The Penn FC crest looks miles better than the City Islanders crest. The Penn FC crest has a much more professional feel, incorporates the Pennsylvania “keystone” symbol and is a much cleaner design compared to the City Islanders crest, which kind of looked like a logo created for a made up team for a school project.
The City Islanders, or Penn FC, has gradually been undergoing change. Former Wilmington Hammerheads FC owner George Altirs bought the team this year. The owner of Capelli Sport has been putting his mark on the team and it appears the potential rebrand is the next step. It’s unknown at this point whether or not a soccer specific stadium is on their radar but that has been a talking point in recent years. Harrisburg plays at FNB Field, home of the Washington Nationals AA team Harrisburg Senators.