|Before MLS debut, Charlotte FC adds mural to raise awareness|
|South End art a reminder of 2022 campaign|
|Published Monday, October 26, 2020 2:11 pm|
|PHOTO | ASHLEY MAHONEY|
|Charlotte FC commissioned a mural in the South End neighborhood to draw attention to the soccer franchise ahead of its 2022 Major League Soccer debut.|
Charlotte FC was announced as the 30th Major League Soccer franchise in December 2019 at the Mint Museum in Uptown, and festivities continued long into the night with Tepper Sports & Entertainment owner David Tepper getting to know future fans at breweries and local soccer bar Hooligans. They made multiple hires from local professional legends like Dustin Swinehart and Jorge Herrera, who played for the Charlotte Eagles and Charlotte Independence respectively.
The club also brought in faces familiar to the Carolinas with MLS experience like Marc Nicholls and Bobby Belair from Seattle and Atlanta respectively. Everything seemed poised for a perfect start in 2021.
Then COVID-19 hit. The club’s branding came to a halt along with the rest of the sporting world. Shortly before they announced the club name, crest and colors, the league announced their inaugural season would take place in 2022. They signed their first player Sergio Ruiz, who is on loan with Las Palmas in Spain’s second division. On Oct. 5 they signed midfielder Riley McGree, who will spend the season on loan with Birmingham City in England’s second division.
While the club launched their academy in July, and their under-17 and U-15 sides are participating in the inaugural MLS NEXT campaign, how do you build a club from scratch while building community interest? The answer was to launch a second logo and paint a mural in South End at The Brickyard (1411 S. Tryon St.) with a reveal that included free coffee from traveling espresso bar Coordinates Coffee for the first 50 customers. Coffee was served in a pouch with the new logo.
The mural, which reads CLTFC with a crown between CLT and FC, is on the same building with a mural of former Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly. Here football meets football, and for Anthony Cardone, owner of The Brickyard, the soccer mural was an automatic yes. He was particularly in favor of the club using artists Matt Moore and Matt Hooker, who painted the Kuechly mural as well.
“It was an easy decision, especially considering that they wanted to use the artists that we used for the other side,” Cardone said. “Whatever those guys do I know is going to be fantastic.”
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