Updated: Jul 31, 2020
Over the last eight years the NWSL has seen some teams come and go, seen some great and not-so-great crests come and go, and welcomed in new teams with new crests.
I decided to take a look at the crests and then rank them in order of worst to first. Which crests are best forgotten or downplayed and which should be enlarged on a flag to wave proudly?
A few points of order before we start:
With only one exception (Reign FC/OL Reign) I am not going to be doing multiple crests from each team. For example: the Chicago Red Stars have had a redesign of their crest, but the underlying form is still there, so I went with the updated crest.
This is what I think. Some of you are going to agree and some of you are going to disagree. Leave your list in the comments below or on Twitter and let’s talk about it.
14) The Boston Breakers
I miss having the Boston Breakers in the NWSL and would like a solid ownership team to put together a Breakers 2.0.
With a new crest.
The giant soccer ball being swept up in a wave with text over the top of the wave just doesn’t do it for me. The shape is fine if not a little bland but everything else needs to be rethought if the Breakers live again.
13) FC Kansas City
I understand the desire to have something different. And the FCKC crest was different. But it was also, and I am sorry FCKC fans, ugly. It looks like someone used the melt tool in MS Paint to swirl the head.
The only saving grace of the crest is that the team name is pretty readable and it is simple enough to be drawn on things. Though with a crest like that, I'm not sure you'd want to.
12) OL Reign
Let's state the easy parts first. It looks like a lion is trying to eat a potato chip from the side.
OL buying the Reign FC, formally the Seattle Reign FC, was great for the team. But when you become part of the OL family, you have part of what makes you... well, you, stripped away.
Not only did OL get rid of one of the all-time greatest crests in soccer, but they replaced it with something that is both boring and sterile.
11) Sky Blue FC
I get it. Sky Blue has had the same crest since just after Obama moved in to the White House. It's tradition and their brand and all that.
But it's also not a great looking crest.
Don't get me started on the WPS era star that is over a crest for an NWSL team or the fact a team called "Sky Blue" doesn't have the color sky blue on their crest. It is a mix of bright orange and deep blue with a bit of white tossed in.
I am hoping with the killer kits that Sky Blue had in 2020, we might see a new crest in 2021 or 2022.
10) Orlando Pride
It's a nipple. A nipple with water gushing out of it. A nipple with water gushing out of it that is named after a place called Lake Eola. Which is too close for comfort to areola.
Purple is an underused color in the NWSL and I really do like the shade the Pride use here. But too much nipple. There is just too much nipple.
9) Houston Dash
The Dash crest is fine. It's readable. The colors don't clash. It's fine.
But sadly that's all I can say about it. It's fine. It doesn't need a rebrand, but one that is a little nicer wouldn't hurt.
If you look up "not half bad" in the dictionary you find the Dash crest.
8) Western New York Flash
Yes, it's weird. And it looks like a hotdog with mustard and ketchup on it, fitting with the former owners maybe.
But the fact that it's interesting helps it rocket up my list. It's readable, the colors do work, and it's got the full name of the club there even if it will start half-a-million fights about just where the line to "Western New York" is among New Yorkers.
If Western New York ever lived again I would say they should update the crest, but it's also not a total abomination.
7) NC Courage
This is the first crest on the list I would unequivocally label as "good".
It has the team colors, it has the mascot, it has a pop of color with the red being at the top, it is connected to the men's team crest without being a direct copy of it. There really is a lot of good here.
Yes, the cat looks unusual, and half of it being blue is slightly odd to me. But overall? It's a nice crest.
6) Washington Spirit
I had the Spirit crest all over the place as I started to get my thoughts in order. They were as high as third and as low as ninth. Finally I settled with them in the middle of that range and put them sixth.
There really is a lot to like here. The interlocking DC, the stars, the eagle talon holding a ball. But the red D is pretty hard to read as it locks around the C, 11 stars only makes sense because that's how many they could fit, if you don't know what is around the ball it looks like bad brainwork, and a star on the ball doesn't make a ton of sense.
Still, when I look at it I see the good before I think of the bad. So that's a win in my book.
5) Racing Louisville FC
Racing Louisville has not played a game. We have no idea what their kits will look like on players. We don't even know which players will be on their roster or who will be coaching them.
What we do know is they listened to feedback when "Proof Louisville" was put out and fell like a lead balloon. They corrected course and have both a new name and one of the bests crests in the NWSL before their first match has been played.
It's a different color than any other team except Orlando, which it's a much different shade than. It's readable, and the fleurs-de-lis have a strong connection to Louisville. It's simple but they hit all the right notes.
4) Reign FC
The Reign FC crest is dead. Long live the Reign FC crest.
This was one of the very best crests in the NWSL— or in soccer, period. It was unique, it was simple without lacking in meaning or thought, the crown could be used in all sorts of things without the rest of the crest. It was damn near perfect.
I miss seeing this crest on kits when OL Reign plays. Gone but never to be forgotten.
3) Portland Thorns FC
Some crests are just great without being overdone. The Portland Thorns FC crest has everything it needs all there.
Team name in a solid font? Check. Team colors without just splashing them in your face? Check. A visually interesting element in the thorn and rose in the middle? Check.
The only thing about the crest that I don't care for is the green next to the black—it's a little hard to make out with my visual issues. But that is a pretty small knock.
2) Chicago Red Stars
I love this crest. It's just about everything a crest should be.
It looks good in color. It looks good in black and white. It's got a modern feel with roots that date back as far as the WPS. It gives a nod to the city of Chicago.
Chicago really hit it out of the park with the slight redesign of the crest and I am glad they did.
1) Utah Royals FC
The Utah Royals lion is everything the North Carolina cat wishes it could be. It looks regal, it's got the crown, it has a nod to Utah in the rock formation that is part of the neck. All three colors for the team are there.
I've really dug this crest since the Royals were nothing more than a name and a crest. I think it's held up over the last few years, and I dig seeing it in black and white just as much as gold, red and blue.
The red soccer balls may be just a little extra. But we're all a little extra sometimes.
So there it is. My definitive list of NWSL crests. But what do YOU think? Did I get it right, wrong, or somewhere in the middle?