With one swift rebrand, the National Women’s Soccer League has a New York presence, sort of.
NJ/NY Gotham FC is the new identity of the NWSL club formerly known as Sky Blue FC, which debuted the new name and club crest Tuesday in an effort to enhance the club’s reach in the country’s largest sports market.
A founding member of the NWSL majority owned by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and his wife, Tammy, Gotham FC will continue to play its matches across the river, but now features a crest that can be read as an "NY" or "NJ" topped by the crown of the Statue of Liberty.
"Today marks a new chapter for women’s soccer in the region," said club chair Tammy Murphy on the club’s website. "We’re making this important change due to our rapid growth and evolution. Our new name reflects our expanding regional reach and captures the relentless determination, unlimited energy, and incredible diversity of the communities we represent."
Gotham FC's first match under its new identity is scheduled for April 14 when the club faces the Orlando Pride to open its 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup slate. While the club is embracing a new name and logo, its color scheme will remain the same from an update last year, with colors officially listed as "Sky Blue, Gotham Black and Cloud White."
Originally founded in 2006 as Jersey Sky Blue, the club is shedding a name and crest used since 2008 during its days in the now defunct Women’s Professional Soccer. Sky Blue FC won the WPS championship in 2009 and reached the NWSL semifinals in the league’s inaugural 2013 season but has not finished above sixth in any full seasons since. With interest in women’s soccer only growing, the club set a new team attendance record in 2019, averaging 3,338 fans per match and hosting two games at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, home of Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls.
The club was expected to move to Red Bull Arena full-time in 2020 after most of its history at Rutgers’ Yurcak Field, but schedule changes prompted by the pandemic delayed those plans. Now the move is expected for the start of the 2021 regular season in May, and it will be under a wholly new name.
"This process is the culmination of a wide-ranging collaboration among our fans, players, front office, and owners" general manager Alyse LaHue said on the club’s website. "The club has a tremendous history and close relationship with its fans, so it was important we listened and remained completely open-minded throughout the process. What emerged is a new brand that is overwhelmingly fan driven, respectful of the club’s past, and representative of a promising future."