Nearly two months after it acquired players, the St. Louis franchise of the Women's Professional Soccer League
finally has a name. Henceforth, our team shall be known as St. Louis Athletica.
"People ask, 'Is that even a word?'" said team president Jeff Cooper at a press conference at the Missouri Athletic Club this afternoon. "Well, it is now."
(For the record, the word "Athletica" does not appear in Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary
With the help of Coach Jorge Barcellos and star player and St. Louis
native Lori Chalupny
, Cooper unveiled the team's new logo: a crest
featuring a female version of the famous statue of St. Louis in Forest
Park with the word "Athletica" beneath it.
"It's a strong and powerful
image that's based in St. Louis, with a feminine edge," Cooper said.
"We're proud of our brand."
"For sure St. Louis will be a strong team,"
Barcellos assured the audience in Portuguese, via a translator. "We
want to give more happiness to the people of St. Louis."
for the unveiling were Frank Borghi
and Harry Keough
, two of the five
St. Louisans who played on the 1950 World Cup team which famously upset
England, and National Soccer Hall of Famer Al Trost
But it was
Chalupny who got the biggest cheer of the afternoon, mostly courtesy of
the 30 or so girls from St. Louis youth leagues, already proudly garbed
in Athletica T-shirts and waving green-and-white StL flags.
exciting and an honor to wear this crest and these colors," Chalupny
said. "I can't wait till February."
The press conference also brought
news of St. Louis' long-anticipated men's team
. St. Louis submitted its
application for an expansion franchise to Major League Soccer last
month and expects to hear the results before the end of the first
quarter of 2009. The city's chances have been improved by its plans for
a new stadium in Collinsville (also on display) and also the withdrawal
from the competition for a new team by Montreal.
Major League Baseball
MVP Albert Pujols
also recently signed on as an investor. The women's
season begins in April; season tickets are already on sale, ranging
from $99 to $1,200. It might take St. Louis soccer fans the whole five
months to get used to cheering for a team called Athletica.
- Aimee Levitt