JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The new professional soccer team in Jacksonville now has a name: The Jacksonville Armada Football Club.
The North American Soccer League expansion franchise chose the name from more than 1,500 suggestions from fans. Team ownership narrowed it down to the top six most-submitted names and chose from there.
In announcing the name and logo Tuesday morning at the Jacksonville Landing, the club said the name is a nod to the area's rich Spanish heritage and strong military connection.
It stands with the club's vision of building a passionate, determined and progressive organization.
Mayor Alvin Brown and club owner Mark Frisch said that fans were instrumental in providing the inspiration for the team name and that connecting with fans and the community is vital to the club's success as the area's first professional soccer team to be in Jacksonville since 1982.
The NASL kicks off its 2014 season in April with 10 teams competing, including the New York Cosmos, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Atlanta Silverbacks. Jacksonville Armada FC will enter the league in spring 2015 alongside Virginia Cavalry F.C. and Oklahoma City.
City Council President Bill Gulliford, Jacksonville Chamber President Daniel Davis and NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson joined Brown and team executives in unveiled the club's new name and logo.
"It continues to make Jacksonville a sports town. We've got the Suns, the Giants, the Sharks, obviously the Jaguars, but you've got an opportunity now to cultivate another franchise, another team that everybody can call their own," said Joel Lamp, interim director of Sports and Entertainment for the city.
In the last two years, Jacksonville has set attendance records for U.S. men and women team matches at EverBank Field. That strong support shown for soccer in the past is something Lamp believes will only be greater with this new team
It's been more than 20 years since a soccer team called Jacksonville home. The Jacksonville Tea Men left the River City in 1982 when the league folded. But soccer fans in Jacksonville will now have a new NASL team to root for.
"From a soccer standpoint, there's so many soccer fans in the community, this is an opportunity for them to latch on to their own team here in Jacksonville and see first class soccer right in their hometown," Lamp said.
Lamp said this new team will add to Jacksonville's ability to compete with other cities as a major sporting events destination.
Although they're about a year away from playing their first game, there's already opportunity for you to put a deposit on season tickets and get on the teams mailing list. Click HERE for more information.
The team owner still has to determine where they'll play their home games.