The Pass Project Community Kits

Curtis Jones, member of Die Innenstadt, founded the Pass Project during his deployment in Southwest Asia. The Pass Project's main goal was to use the game of soccer as a vehicle for change in that local community, and Curtis was a beacon of positive change for them over the course of his deployment. Their first venture aimed to improve quality of life and facilitate the game of soccer for underprivileged youth and displaced refugees in Curtis’ region. Through fundraising and donations, they were able to donate over 600 soccer balls, soccer equipment, and 2000 personal hygiene items for the community. They even renovated a futsal court! You may remember our fundraiser in May to benefit The Pass Project, which raised over $700! 

Now that Curtis is back in Cincinnati, his focus shifts to a cause closer to home. Curtis’ aunt was recently diagnosed with ALS, and his great aunt passed away from the disease in the late 90's. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, and patients in later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed. The estimated out-of-pocket cost for caring for a person with ALS is around $250,000. The next chapter for The Pass Project now is to raise awareness of ALS, contribute to ALS research, and be a part of the ALS Walk in Cincinnati on September 16. 

With that initiative in mind, The Pass Project is launching “The Community Kit”, and we will be helping the project by featuring the kits through the DI online store. The kit's design draws inspiration from the city’s flag as well as the city’s heritage, and will be launching with the intent to give back to the community. Stripes from Cincinnati’s city flag are featured boldly, and the Bavarian lozenge pattern we've come to associate with many things soccer in this city act as a secondary element. The ALS Association of Southern and Central Ohio Chapter logo is featured on the front of both kits, along with The Pass Project logo and motto. On the back the number 18 represents the year The Pass Project was founded, and the Die Innenstadt logo even makes an appearance under the number to show our partnership. 

The kits will run $35.00 each and will be available in limited quantities. 100% of proceeds will be donated to the ALS Association of Southern and Central Ohio Chapter. This will help the association defeat ALS through education, support groups, and access to compassionate care and advocacy, among many other services. You can donate by purchasing a kit through our website at A note about sizing and fit from the manufacturer states "Our sizes follow the European model and thus have a tight fit. We highly recommend "sizing up", so if you are usually a Large you will want to order an Extra Large and so on."

Die Innenstadt is proud to work with The Pass Project again, this time to help in the fight against ALS.

-More about ALS
-Donate to the ALS Association
-The Walk To Defeat ALS
-The Pass Project

The Best Crest in US/Canadian Soccer?

The coming rebrand for FC Cincinnati’s jump to MLS is going to be here before you realize it. If you take a look at any league in the United States and Canada, you’ll find a wide range of crests from great, to really, really, bad.

FC Cincinnati has apparently hired Interbrand to perform the club’s full rebrand. They announced that colors would remain orange and blue and that the moniker “FC Cincinnati” would not change despite the legal name of Fußball Club Cincinnati replacing Futbol Club Cincinnati. Interbrand is behind many high-profile designs including, most notably to FCC Fans, the highly controversial Juventus rebrand (personally, I think it’s phenomenal, but not best for FCC). Interband is an international design agency with offices all over the world. The Cincinnati office has been responsible for brands such as ExxonMobil, Corona, Häagen-Dazs, Nissan, and P&G.

 Old and New Juventus logos side by side. Interbrand performed the redesign.

Old and New Juventus logos side by side. Interbrand performed the redesign.

We started thinking about which crests/logos we like, and decided to put together a vote among the Die Innenstadt Board to determine what our collective favorite crests/logos are from all leagues in the United States and Canada (No Canadian Premier League clubs were included because of the timing of the vote, but you can see some of the new logos at the league's website here). Each board member ranked their top 5 logos from a list we compiled of our favorites. A first place vote from someone gave the logo 5 points, a second place vote gave a logo 4 points, etc. Below are the top five picks, but first, we’ll look at a few honorable mentions that didn’t get the votes, but are still worthy of a shout-out.

Honorable Mentions:

Detroit City FC


Whatever your opinions are about Detroit City or its fans, there’s no denying that they have a wonderful crest. Featuring the Spirit of Detroit, this crest is indistinguishably Detroit without going to the tired motifs of The Motor City and Motown Records. Detroit City FC plays in the NPSL.

San Francisco City FC


The club’s crest has its flaws. The excessive number of periods in the title is a bit cumbersome, and the color scheme screams “Germany!” to me. Despite its flaws, identifiable features from the city are prominently displayed including the Golden Gate Bridge, Transamerica Pyramid, and Sutro Tower. The club is also 51% supporter owned! This crest is a great example of what lower division soccer crests can be. They currently play in the PDL.

Lowcountry United FC


This is an example of a crest that perfectly fits the region it represents, but isn’t the type of crest you would want in Cincinnati. The Lowcountry is the marshland in South Carolina near the border with Georgia. Like New Orleans and Savannah, time moves slower here and the yellow and orange color scheme really brings out that feature. The crest features the iconic Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in Charleston and the crescent moon from the South Carolina state flag. Lowcountry United FC plays in the United Premier Soccer League.

Kansas City Comets


An indoor soccer team with a remarkable logo, the Kansas City Comets don’t have a true “crest”, but their logo deserves recognition. They started out as the Detroit Lightning in 1979, but moved to Kansas City in 1981 after a brief stint as the San Francisco Fog. The team was resurrected from 2001-05, but they abandoned their logo for an atrocious design. Luckily, when the team was brought back in 2010, they returned to their early-80s masterpiece. It may not be a crest, but it’s one of the best logos in soccer. The Kansas City Comets compete in the Major Arena Soccer League.

Asheville City SC


Brought to our attention by Bob Brumberg after voting, Asheville City SC has a simple crest that has a look reminiscent of an old Premier League logo. It’s a clean crest with some stretched letters to display an “A” and “C” for Asheville City with the top of the Asheville City Hall in the center. It's also pretty cool that Hi-Wire Brewing sponsors their kits! They host a men’s team in the NPSL and a women’s team in the Women’s Premier Soccer League.

Top 5 Crests:

#5 – Las Vegas Lights FC - USL (10 Points)


Really? Las Vegas? Yes, Las Vegas. According to our board, this is the fifth best crest in all of US/Canadian soccer. Vegas is a difficult city to create a brand for that feels authentic, without being too gaudy. The crest keeps a very normal shape and a surprisingly simple design by using the shape of the infamous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign and rotating it 90 degrees. It utilizes one of the prominent features of Las Vegas – its neon lights – and makes a logo that is unmistakably Vegas. The color palette uses traditional neon colors of blue, yellow, and a splash of pink. It’s a divergent design that manages to stay in the bounds of a traditional crest.

#4 – FC Wichita – NPSL (12 Points)


This club uses elements of the city’s flag for its inspiration. It’s symmetric, clean, simple, and identifiable. Grain on either side represent the major industry in this part of the country, and the Native American symbol is representative of “permanent home,” which is an amazing symbol for a soccer team, that is supposed to be all about where you’re from. This is a high quality crest, and deserves a spot in our top five.

#3 – Tormenta FC – PDL (12 Points)


Like Juventus' rebrand, this is another example of a crest that I wouldn’t want FC Cincinnati’s new look to have, but one that is wildly good at what it does. It takes some confidence to design a lower division crest that doesn’t have the team’s name in it. South Georgia Tormenta FC is the rare example of one that works almost flawlessly. Based in Statesboro Georgia just off the East Coast of the United States, this crest features an American white ibis. According to one of the artists behind the crest: "It’s the last animal in Southern Georgia [that goes] into hiding before a hurricane and the first to come out after,” Klein said. “We love the story and made it the focal point of the crest. It’s really important to incorporate a hometown story into your crest that gets fans talking and has significance."

Once you know who this team is, you’ll never forget the name.

#2 – Brooklyn Italians – NPSL (19 Points)


This team has been a feature in US Soccer since 1949. They’ve won the US Open Cup twice (1979, 1991). The predominant color on the badge is blue, like the Italian national team’s kits. They have green and red accents on the sides to pay homage to the Italian flag. Two stars adorn the US flag at the top of the Brooklyn Bridge – the most recognizable symbol of Brooklyn. The stylized bridge is what makes this crest so good. It’s unfortunate that this crest exists, because it would look great with the (older and more beautiful) Roebling Suspension Bridge and “FC Cincinnati” adorning the crest. The only downside of this crest might be the tiny American flag at the top of the bridge that breaks up this extremely clean design. 

#1 – Minnesota United FC – MLS (28 Points)


The clear favorite of all of the logos, Minnesota United racked up 3 first place votes, and got in the top five from 8 of our 9 board members. This features a unique color scheme that emphasizes silver/gray as their primary color, with a secondary light blue representing the Mississippi River. In the loon’s eye is their tertiary color, a bright red that is featured very subtly on their branding. I’m personally not a fan of kits with buttons on them, but they used this red tertiary color in their kits this year, and I was in love.

The crest keeps the vague look of most “shield” type crests, but goes outside the boundaries a little bit with the loon’s feathers, North Star, and unusual shape. The loon features 11 feathers to represent the 11 players on the field. The two halves of gray represent both Minneapolis and St. Paul separated by the Mississippi River. The crest stays within the rules of most good crests, while pushing the boundaries of a traditional crest’s shape, colors, and style. An excellent crest that should be a model for FC Cincinnati moving forward.

Common Themes of Good Logos

Looking back at our choices, there are a couple common themes among these picks, and things that Interbrand should follow to make a timeless design.

1)      Soccer balls are nowhere to be seen.

Most logos that utilize a soccer ball in their logo look amateur. We know what sport you play, and don’t need the ball in your logo. It doesn’t help that the prototypical soccer ball is associated with youth soccer in the United States. Thankfully MLS changed their logo, because it looked a little too close to the SAY Soccer logo many in the Tri-state are most likely familiar with.

2)      Pride in local identity.

Each one of these is steeped in a local identity. The Brooklyn Bridge, the Las Vegas Sign, the Spirit of Detroit. These are all recognizable symbols of the cities they represent and are very important to getting the city to embrace their identity.

We made a short list of logos/crests and then voted on those. You can see the whole list below and how they ranked.

  1. Minnesota United FC - 28 Points (3 First Place Votes)
  2. Brooklyn Italians - 19 Points (3 First Place Votes)
  3. Tormenta FC - 12 Points (2 Second Place Votes)
  4. FC Wichita - 12 Points (1 Second Place Vote)
  5. Las Vegas Lights FC - 10 Points
  6. Portland Timbers - 9 Points (1 First Place Vote)
  7. Columbus Crew SC - 9 Points (1 First Place Vote)
  8. Indy Eleven - 7 Points
  9. Portland Thorns - 6 Points (1 First Place Vote)
  10. Lowcountry United FC - 6 Points
  11. San Francisco City FC - 5 Points
  12. Sacramento Republic FC - 4 Points
  13. Detroit City FC - 3 Points
  14. DC United - 3 Points
  15. Kansas City Comets - 2 Points
  16. Vancouver Whitecaps - 0 Points
  17. Savannah Clovers - 0 Points

Are there any that are ranked too low? Ranked too high? Any we passed up entirely? Let us know!

Making the Jump to MLS

Tuesday evening was an incredible moment for everyone who worked so hard to make an MLS team in Cincinnati a reality. We were incessantly mocked online – some of it deserved – for our announcement in 2015 and our ownership’s ambition for an MLS team. That ridicule largely subsided when we proved that Cincinnati was ready to support a professional soccer team, though many outside of Cincinnati still didn’t believe the dreams of a top flight team were attainable. This week proved what we all knew the whole time – we had the pieces to win the MLS bid. We had the fan support, the ownership, and the vision to make it all happen. This week is one to celebrate. Though Cincinnati may not have been the preferred market for MLS at the beginning, it was the fan support that brought us across the finish line.

We did it!

 Tuesday Night after the announcement

Tuesday Night after the announcement

But now the question is: what comes next?

In nine months, we will be playing our first MLS match. I won’t go into what the team must do to create a competitive roster, I’ll leave that to the professionals like Orange & Blue Press, Cincinnati Soccer Talk, and Pat Brennan at the Enquirer.

What we are primarily concerned about is how our move to MLS affects our group, and how our group can affect our move to MLS.

How our move to MLS affects Die Innenstadt

For the time being, nothing changes on the outside for Die Innenstadt. We will still be operating pregame events at Mecklenburg Gardens, hosting away watch parties at rhinehaus, and creating a positive impact on our community through charitable giving and volunteer events.

Some smaller things may change with our first two years in MLS while at Nippert Stadium. We may have some changes with smoke policy. We may have some changes with entry procedures at Nippert. And we may have some organizational changes to our group to better prepare for life in MLS. Day-to-day, we don’t expect you to notice many changes for the remainder of the season, and outside of some growing pains, we’ll try to make sure any changes to the gameday atmosphere are positive changes and fully expected.


 Open Cup Match on May 16 (Photo: Ronny Salerno)

Open Cup Match on May 16 (Photo: Ronny Salerno)

How Die Innenstadt will impact our move to MLS

Our primary focus for the next 9 months will be ensuring a smooth transition into MLS. We want to hit the ground running in 2019. In addition to our regular meetings with the front office to discuss gameday issues and ideas, we will be working with them to plan for any changes in 2019.

We will advocate on behalf of the fans to maintain affordable ticket prices, merchandise, concessions, etc. Ticket prices will go up with the increase in player salaries, marketing, in-game amenities, and the cost of building a new stadium. But we will do our best to ensure any changes are reasonable – as the team has repeatedly insisted they are committed to.

In addition to changes for the next two years while at Nippert, we will be working with the front office to help plan for the new West End stadium that will tentatively open in 2021. We have already had productive discussions about preliminary details for the new stadium with the other supporter groups. We are committed to a safe standing section for the new supporter section, complete with cup holders and a steep incline. Our goal is to create an atmosphere at the new stadium that is unparalleled in MLS. This is our chance to make a huge, permanent impact on the club.

To accomplish what we are setting out to do, we will need your help along the way. Your input on features in the new stadium will be paramount to providing the best experience possible in the new stadium. The leaders of the supporter groups will not think of everything, and any ideas you have that make things better in a new space will be helpful.

All season long we are also going to continue to need help with various tasks such as staffing the merch table at Mecklenburg Gardens, helping set up banners at the stadium before matches, and volunteering for various events throughout the year. If you are interested in becoming more involved, please reach out to us on Slack or via email. Our Board is elected every year after the conclusion of the season, and if you’re interested in becoming a board member for next year, volunteering at our events is a great way to learn more about the responsibilities involved. Feel free to talk with us about what you think you would like to see in the coming years, and how you think you could impact things going forward.

We’re thrilled that Cincinnati won the MLS bid, and are excited for the new challenges the next few years will bring.


Ryan Lammi

Juncta Juvant!