MLS club rebrands: A recent history of teams that changed their identities

The Houston Dynamo unveiled a new identity ahead of the 2021 season, but there haven't been many of these rebrands in the last 10+ years.

We went back in MLS history for a look at some of the most recent changes in club identities. The list below does not include expansion teams or the Philadelphia Union's logo refresh of 2018 and the Timbers' switch to their secondary mark sans text in 2016: 

Houston Dynamo (2020)

The Houston Dynamo emphasized the connection to their city and a new direction for the club with the new crest unveiled after the 2020 season.

It features a hexagonal shape meant to reflect strength and unity, and a font style which give "HOUSTON" more prominence than the team name, a switch from the previous crest. There's also a tribute to Houston’s bayou system: The channels within the interlocking monogram each represent Bayou City’s waterways.

Chicago Fire FC (2019)

Ahead of their return to downtown Chicago in 2020, the Chicago Fire unveiled a new crest, colors and a tweak to their name (addition of "FC") with a badge inspired by "the story and spirit of Chicagoans."

The mirrored flame icon which takes on the look of a crown is meant to symbolize the rise of the city from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The badge’s oval shape was the first of its kind in MLS.

D.C. United (2015)

Two years before signing world star Wayne Rooney and moving to brand new Audi Field in 2018, D.C. United kicked off their new era with a brand new crest.

The updated version has a more dynamic eagle mascot and drops the soccer ball in favor of a three-star, twin-striped element taken from the District flag.

Columbus Crew (2014)

Columbus unveiled a new logo and a name tweak — the addition of "SC" — in October 2014, approximately a year after the club's new owner (Precourt Sports Ventures) brought in a new head coach (Gregg Berhalter) who in turn introduced a unique, new playing style in MLS.

When it comes to the logo, the only elements that carried over from the memorable three-man construction crew logo were the club’s traditional black and gold colors. Everything else was revamped.

It started with the circular shape, designed to recognize the city’s German heritage by adopting the tradition of circular crests from the German Bundesliga. The black-and-gold checkerboard pattern is a nod to the supporters culture at Crew SC. The two rings that make up the circular badge also form an “O” mirroring the “O” in the Ohio State flag. The “96” is a reference to the year of the club’s founding and the nine black-and-gold diagonal lines highlight the other nine charter clubs that together with Columbus started the 10-team league in 1996. 

San Jose Earthquakes (2014)

The Earthquakes unveiled a new logo and jersey ahead of the 2014 season to celebrate their 40th anniversary as a club.

The changes were designed as a "reunification" of the club's traditions over those 40 years: the new logo and that year's away jersey harkened back to the team's 1974 foundation as a member of the old North American Soccer League, while the home jersey showcased a look that the team sported in MLS from 2000-2005.

Sporting Kansas City (2010)

Kansas City witnessed a comprehensive transformation of its MLS club heading into the 2011 season: new name (Sporting Kansas City), new players (Designated Player and forward Omar Bravo), new color scheme, new stadium (Children's Mercy Park) and a brand new crest.

The new logo still used today features 11 stripes that represent the 11 players on a field. And the right edge of those stripes form the angled shape of the Missouri-Kansas state line. The crest's designers took inspiration from Greek mythology and art, including the rod of the Greek god Asclepius and the statue Winged Victory, as well as from Spanish architecture, a major part of Kansas City's Country Club Plaza district.

LA Galaxy (2007)

It was a new era for both the LA Galaxy and MLS in 2007 with the arrival of David Beckham and in advance of his Galaxy debut in July 2007, the club rebranded for the first time in its history.

The Galaxy unveiled a new jersey — a white kit also featuring the other two new club colors navy and gold — and a logo based on a quasar, or "the heart of a galaxy," as described by then GM and president Alexi Lalas who was part of this brand overhaul.