Black Bear FC
We often talk about the soccer map expanding and with new clubs popping up everywhere, from Alaska to Florida, there’s proof everywhere. One region that seems to be on a massive upswing is the South. Previously seen as American football country, the soccer game is exploding all over states previously seen as soccer deserts. One of those states is Alabama and one of those clubs is Black Bear FC. We spoke with Gavin Owens about the growth of his club and their new Icarus-designed kits.
Black Bear FC hit our radar several months ago, mostly because of a classy and simple logo. The image of a roaring bear, a white outline on a black background, set within a red circle, pops in all the right ways. The starkness of the design makes it a unique and inspiring badge. It was designed by Jessica Do for the club, and the choice of the bear was not by accident. Gavin points out that “The name Black Bear FC comes from Alabama's official state animal, the black bear. I wanted the name to represent Alabama but didn't want to tie in Birmingham's industrial past. I hoped to bring a different kind of brand to our potential fans rather than imitate what a lot of businesses, and sports teams, are already doing.”
With a slick badge that already stood out, Gavin had ideas about what he wanted for the shirt design. “rom the beginning, I knew I wanted a classic collar and a black base with red/white accents. From there, Icarus FC did the rest and designed the beautiful kit you see today. The sleeves and shorts feature a white stripe with red paw prints. The back of the collar reads, ‘EST. 2019.’ All in all, we couldn't be happier with the end product.”
The shirt is a model of what a lower league club can look like working with a designer who tailors the work to please the client. It’s the kind of kit you can wear to almost any event or setting. It’s classy and simple, but with an air of understated sophistication. With the success of the original black kit, will there be an alternate white? Next year for sure. As of now, we will just wear the black kit in a local league that doesn't require an away kit.”
Black Bear FC kicked off for the first time recently, playing against NPSL Georgia Revolution’s Reserves. And while the new side lost 4-0, Gavin emphasizes the positives of the match. “The experience was something we'll never forget. Despite a change in the venue a day before and our biggest vendor having to back out, we still had about 70 people come support. The game was for a local charity as well called Hope To Homeless Outreach. We received lots of donations and were able to raise enough money to fund another outreach event (aka: filling bags with everyday essentials and handing them out at the homeless shelters in downtown Birmingham). We were also able to have three local vendors, all three owners are either still in college or just graduated, which was really awesome to see.” Looking forward Black Bear is looking to host more community-themed events before either playing in a local 7v7 or 11v11 league.
They say that you have to dress the part and Black Bear FC has certainly nailed that aspect of their rollout. The club will be rolling out more merchandise in the near future, which will be in line with their current aesthetic. As far as the current kit, you can pick that up by contacting the club via twitter. The kits are $45 and will be available to preorder until August 13th.
- Dan Vaughn