Philadelphia’s only professional development football club, Junior Lone Star FC, will play under a new name, Philadelphia Lone Star Football Club (PLSFC) from the start of the 2018/2019 league season.
Founded in 2001 by West African immigrants, mainly Liberians, in Southwest Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the club was named Junior Lone Star FC, after the Liberian national football team, because most of the team’s players were from Liberia.
According to a release from the club, the idea of changing the club’s name was first introduced to the Board of Directors in 2016, before the membership voted for the name change last year.
However, the club will maintain the Lone Star brand, because of its roots, while including Philadelphia as a permission to the City “that wholeheartedly welcomed immigrants like us,” the club president has said.
“After 18 seasons as Junior Lone Star FC, I think this is the right time to make a change so that we can promote our club better to all residents in the City of Philadelphia,” president Paul Konneh said.
“I only see this as a win-win situation where we recognize the City of Brotherly Love and, at the same time, keep our heritage intact,” Konneh added.
The club release said that it maintains the previous identity, and the traditional colors of red, white, and blue, despite the change of name and logo.
The club’s new crest has several elements including a pointed shield, 13 vertical stripes and the Liberty Bell.
“The shape of the crest, which we proudly wear over our hearts, is a pointed shield, a symbol of strength and togetherness, which has been a staple of the Lone Star ethos and message since our formation in 2001,” Mr Konneh said.
The 13 vertical stripes of red alternating with white symbolize the 13 original players, who formed the first squad of the club in 2001.
The Liberty Bell is synonymous with the City of Philadelphia, a city that openly welcomed immigrants like us, which led to the club we see today. The name of the Bell also resonates with Liberia’s National Motto, “The Love of LIBERTY Brought Us Here.”
About the two shades of blue around and within the crest, “the left color is taken from the Municipal Flag of Philadelphia and the right color is taken from the Flag of the Republic of Liberia,” the release said.
The design of the crest was created by Robert Boyd of Custom FC in England. Custom FC is a design studio which specializes in sports logos and social media graphics.
Committing on the new changes, one of the club’s founders and current head coach of the club’s U23 team, Bobby Ali, said he does not see any change on the field where the various teams still play with the same identity and philosophy.
“For me, I think these changes will only be off the field,” the release quotes Ali.
Philadelphia Lone Star First Team will compete in the East PA State Open Cup and Amateur Cup in the Fall and will return for its seventh season in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) as well as its second season in the Northeast Elite Soccer League (NESL) in the Summer. The second team, U23, will return for its second season in the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) in the Spring and will also compete in the U.S. Adult Soccer Association (USASA) U-23 Regional as well as the Elite Development Program (EDP) U-23 League in the Summer.
For the Academy Teams (U-15s, U-17s, U-19s), they will compete in various tournaments and college showcases around the country in the Fall/Winter/Spring as well as the State Cups in the Summer.
Philadelphia Lone Star-Liberia will compete in the 2018/19 Liberia Football Association (LFA) National Third Division Championship League which begins later this month.