The 2016 USL expansion team in the Lehigh Valley will be called Bethlehem Steel FC, the Philadelphia Union announced Tuesday during an unveiling event at Artsquest at SteelStacks. The club also unveiled the team colors and logo.
The Union announced the 2016 USL expansion team at a press conference on Aug. 19 and opened fan voting for the team name to the public in early September. After thousands of fans submitted their votes and suggested their original ideas, Bethlehem Steel FC proved a clear winner with 80 percent of the votes.
“We are thrilled by the strong fan interest in determining the name of our new USL team,” Philadelphia Union Chairman Jay Sugarman said. “We continue to believe in the deep history of this sport in our region and this is a tremendous way to pay homage to the past, while also reflecting the important role of the club in the Union family. Bethlehem Steel FC is the final piece of player development that creates a clear path to first team.”
The new Bethlehem Steel FC logo and colors pull elements from the Union’s identity and complement the rich history and soccer success in the area. The color scheme will sport Philadelphia Union blue and gold, along with red to reflect the original team.
The team logo consists of an elongated version of the original Bethlehem Steel Soccer Club crest, a historic ball to reflect the storied history of soccer in the area and rivets to symbolize the joining of the two clubs. The focal point of the logo consists of a snake coiled around the iconic Bethlehem steel beam to demonstrate the blending of the Union and Bethlehem Steel FC.
“The history expressed in the crest and colors come as a result of thoughtful deliberation and planning,” Chief Revenue Officer and Executive Vice President Dave Rowan said. “We believe that the logo, colors and name respectfully pay tribute to the original Bethlehem Steel Soccer Club, while also reflecting the modern influences that the Union provide.”
Dating back to 1907, the original Bethlehem Steel Soccer Club was a team that many considered the first American soccer team. Despite ending in 1930, Bethlehem Steel Soccer Club is still tied for the most U.S. Open Cup titles in the tournament´s 102-year history, winning in 1915, 1916, 1918, 1919 and 1926.
The new team will play at Goodman Stadium in Lehigh University. Fans interested in 2016 tickets can purchase them by visiting philadelphiaunion.com/SteelFC or by calling 844-STEELFC. For more information regarding Bethlehem Steel FC, fans can follow the team on Twitter at @BSteelFC and like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bsteelfc