Birmingham Legion FC
|Birmingham Legion FC|
|Home field||BBVA Field|
Birmingham Legion FC is a professional soccer team which represents Birmingham in the United Soccer League's USL Championship division beginning with the 2019 season. Its home matches are played at the 5,000-seat BBVA Field on UAB's campus.
The franchise, which was announced at a public event on August 8, 2018, is co-owned by Jeff Logan, James Outland and Lee Styslinger III. Jay Heaps was announced in January 2018 as president and general manager of the team. Birmingham Hammers co-founder Morgan Copes is vice-president. In May 2018 it was announced that John Harbert II, Jack Bryant, Billy Harbert and Jim Rein were joining the ownership group. Later that month, the team announced that Doug Hicks had been hired as vice president. Birmingham Legions FC's offices are located at 2213 1st Avenue South.
The name and logo for the team, developed with Big Communications, were announced in January 2018. The name "Legion" makes reference to the "army" of soccer fans that helped establish the team as well as to soccer history at Legion Field. The other elements of the logo highlight Birmingham's industrial history. In addition to referencing the former Hammers team, the hammer and anvil are a visual reference to Vulcan. Three hypocycloids (four-pointed stars) approximate the American Iron & Steel Institute's "Steelmark", famously used in the logo of the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers. In August 2018 Red Diamond signed a 3-year deal to sponsor the team as "jersey partner". Other sponsors include Buffalo Rock, Post Consumer Brands and Nike. Home and away games were broadcast locally on WABM "My68".
Oak Mountain High School graduate and Real Monarchs' star forward Chandler Hoffman signed on as the team's first player in July 2018. In August the team announced that Tom Soehn would be the first head coach of Birmingham Legion FC.
Birmingham Legion finished their inaugural season with a 12-15-7 record and advanced to the quarter-finals of the league's conference championship.
That February the Legion lost a 2-3 friendly against the MLS Atlanta United FC at BBVA Field. Video of the crowd singing spread through social media and ignited an outpouring of interest from England's Birmingham City FC fan base. The moment generated thousands of new online followers, several exchanges of gear, and a wave of trolling insults against the Memphis 901 FC, which were identified as Legion's chief rival.
- Forwards: Neco Brett, Prosper Kasim, Rudolf Mensah, Brian Wright
- Midfielders: Bolu Akinyode, Anderson Asiedu, Eli Crognale, Daigo Kobayashi, Bruno Lapa, Mikey Lopez, Jaden Servania, Braxton Taghvai-Najib, Marcos Ugarte
- Defenders: Alex Crognale, Razak Cromwell, Jonathan Dean, Mathieu Laurent, Jake Rufe
- Goalkeepers: Ford Parker, Trevor Spangenberg, Matt Van Oekel
Birmingham Legion finished their inaugural season as the 10th-ranked team in the USL's Eastern Conference, with a total of 43 points despite a 12-15-7 record and a goal deficit of 16. In the league's conference championship, the Legion made it as far as the quarter-finals before being eliminated by the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on October 26.
- "USL Officially Awards Franchise to Birmingham." (August 8, 2017) USLsoccer.com
- Patchen, Tyler (January 17, 2018) "Birmingham's soccer team name and logo unveiled." Birmingham Business Journal
- Edgemon, Erin (May 8, 2018) "Birmingham Legion FC adds 4 local owners." The Birmingham News
- Inabinett, Mark (July 30, 2018) "Chandler Hoffman coming home as Birmingham Legion FC's first player." The Birmingham News
- Murray, Nichola (August 5, 2018) "The USL Q&A: Doug Hicks, Birmingham Legion FC" USLsoccer.com
- Patchen, Tyler (December 17, 2018) "Legion FC unveils new jersey and home-opener opponent." Birmingham Business Journal
- Estes, Cary (March 6, 2019) "How Birmingham landed its own professional soccer team." The Birmingham News
- Wray, Cheryl (October 23, 2019) "Legion FC visits North Carolina in first-round USL playoff game tonight." The Birmingham News
- Patchen, Tyler (November 8, 2019) "With first year complete, Legion FC looks to the future." Birmingham Business Journal
- Humphries, Clayton (December 6, 2019) "Legion FC Announces Initial Offseason Roster Moves." Birmingham Legion FC press release
- Goodman, Joseph (February 11, 2020) "Birmingham Legion FC creates buzz (and jokes) in England with chant." The Birmingham News
- Goodman, Joseph (July 16, 2020) "Statement game for Birmingham Legion FC in season opener." The Birmingham News
- Goodman, Joseph (September 25, 2020) "Birmingham growing reputation in pro soccer." The Birmingham News
- Birmingham Legion FC website