Tampa Bay’s new top-tier women’s professional soccer team unveiled its name, logo and colors during a community event in Ybor City. More than 500 fans gathered to cheer as Tampa Mayor Jane Castor officially shared the branding of the region’s newest sports franchise: Tampa Bay Sun Football Club
The first Tampa Bay Sun FC retail collection is now available online at tampabaysunfc.com.
Club leaders were on hand to share the process that led to the name and crest. “Through months of thoughtful discussions and meetings with fan groups, we turned directly to our local communities. We listened to their stories about who we are, why we choose to call this area home, and, most importantly, why we adore this place,” recalled Club President Christina Unkel.
The team’s objective was to discover the common thread that binds the community in this special part of Florida and reflect that sentiment in the creation of Tampa Bay’s new USL Super League team. “We wanted to capture part of we all love about the Tampa Bay Area and find a symbol that’s full of energy, with the power to connect us all together,” Unkel said.
Darryl Shaw, the team’s co-owner, added, “Creating a community-centered club has been our unwavering focus since day one. We invested months in engaging with and heeding the voices of our community members across our region. In those conversations, this message stood out loud and clear.”
Naming Opportunity Winners
The team received more than 2,500 name ideas from the public. Nine people suggested sun(s). One of them explained, “You can have Tampa Bay Sun FC, and within an hour you can touch the beach, the city, and the country.” During small group meetings with fans, the sun was represented simply as a lined drawing, and referenced in countless ways.
The message was undeniable: the Tampa Bay Sun FC is a fundamental and unifying force for the people of Tampa Bay. Now, Tampa Bay Sun FC embodies that essence, establishing a new legacy as the region’s premier women’s professional soccer team.
Because nine people submitted Sun(s), the club is naming all nine as winners of the naming opportunity announced this summer. All nine will receive a prize pack, including new team merchandise and a ball signed by the team once its roster of players is complete in the coming months.
Tampa Bay Sun FC Home Ground
The club’s first home is now set. The team will play its first seasons in an upgraded and expanded waterfront stadium in Downtown Tampa that it will share with Howard W. Blake High School. Located along the Hillsborough River in Tampa’s fast-growing West Riverfront neighborhood, the club will invest more than $4 million to enhance the facility. On game days, it will be a hub of family-friendly excitement, and fans can enjoy the Tampa Riverwalk or Downtown hotspots before or after the match.
Season Tickets and What’s Next
The Tampa Bay Sun FC has its head coach—longtime USF women’s soccer coach Denise Schilte-Brown—and she will now begin building a roster of players. They will be Tampa Bay’s first-ever female top-tier pro athletes. The process of announcing Tampa Bay Sun FC’s inaugural team will start early next year, with the entire team reporting for training early next summer. The team’s training facility will be located in Ybor City.
The club is also working on a fun mascot for the team, with more details to be announced in the coming months.
About Tampa Bay Sun FC
Tampa Bay Sun FC is a professional top-tier women’s soccer team set to kick off in Tampa, Florida in August 2024. The team will play in a waterfront stadium on the Hillsborough River in Downtown Tampa.
Including Tampa Bay Sun FC, the USL Super League’s inaugural season will launch with eight markets, with additional markets joining in subsequent seasons. USL Super League has committed to U.S. Soccer’s Division One standards, reflecting its collective vision to be a global leader in women’s soccer on and off the field while providing more opportunities for more women in more communities.
Childhood friends and local business leaders Darryl Shaw, David Laxer, and Jeff Fox serve as owners of the team.