On December 7, 2020, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) awarded an expansion franchise to Kansas City to be led by the ownership team of Angie and Chris Long and Brittany Matthews. On December 23, Willoughby was tasked to lead the creation of a new name, crest and branded communications for the January 12, 2021 draft. No other team has ever been brought online so quickly in NWSL history.

As much as this team deserved a fitting name and crest, we knew that the best fans in the world live here in KC and their collective voice should be heard and reflected in the identity. And that kind of work doesn’t happen in 3 weeks over the holidays.

So we focused the Inaugural Season branding on the one thing we knew would not change: We Play for Kansas City. We kept the name simple: KC NWSL and we set out to build an interim brand that would represent a world class team for a world class city.

KC NWSL Branding - Inaugural Season Crest w/ Descriptions

The design process started with the creation of a simple crest that would represent the club’s promise to its players, its fans and its city. KC lived at the center of it all. Two stars were added to represent the two states where our city lives: Kansas and Missouri. And the three stripes symbolize the crossroads that come together here in the middle.

Owner Angie Long was inspired by the energy and disruption that the color teal brought to the palette, especially when paired with red, so it was brought in as the third color. It quickly became the fan-favorite and the anchor of the identity system.

KC NWSL Branding - Twitter Posts
KC NWSL Branding - We Play For Animation

Once the kit of parts was in place, together with Parris Communications (PR), Imagemakers (website), Guild Content (video) and the marketing team at KC NWSL, we created communications across channels for this new brand including website, social and local, regional and industry news outlets.

The new brand launched with a countdown and a reveal on social to a fanbase that grew exponentially in a matter of hours. Instagram grew from 6,210 followers to 8.5k on the first day. The crest post achieved over 13.5k views. Twitter reported 1.5 million impressions of the crest tweet on launch day and followers grew from 8,265 to 9.2K by 5 pm that day.

KC NWSL Branding - Logo/Hashtag Banner
KC NWSL Branding - Scarf/Kits
KC NWSL Branding - Merchandise
KC NWSL Branding - Downtown Skyline
KC NWSL Branding - Social Media Posts
KC NWSL Branding - Inaugural Season Label

In the months since, we have seen this crest embraced by a soccer community that already loves this team, these athletes, this new era in Kansas City sports. We were there from the beginning, at the first home game and celebrated alongside some of the most passionate fans in the world. We love this team and were honored to do this work for the players, fellow Kansas Citians and for a better future for us all.

So what’s next? As was promised, we took the first season to speak with players, fans and stakeholders to create a name and new crest that will represent this Club for many years to come. We can’t wait to share it with the world… coming soon.