The Los Angeles Football Club, Southern California’s expansion Major League Soccer franchise, unveiled its team crest and color scheme in a tightly choreographed news conference Thursday at Union Station.
But those announcements were quickly overshadowed by another unveiling near the end of the event, when actor Will Ferrell stepped on to the stage to be introduced as the newest member of the team’s burgeoning ownership group.
“This is not a joke,” promised Ferrell, whose best-known previous connection to soccer was his role as a dysfunctional youth coach in the comedy “Kicking & Screaming.”
Turns out his ties to the sport go much deeper.
Ferrell said he played soccer growing up in Irvine, his three sons still play the game, and his wife, actress Viveca Paulin, played soccer at Pomona College.
“To say that soccer is a big part of our lives is an understatement,” he said. “I’m proud to be a member of this wonderful ownership group.”
Ferrell’s addition increases the size of that ownership group to an unwieldy 26 members, including Vietnamese American entrepreneur Henry Nguyen, entertainment mogul Peter Guber, former Laker Magic Johnson, baseball’s Nomar Garciaparra, former Women’s World Cup champion Mia Hamm and self-help author Tony Robbins.
Even Nguyen, the managing partner of the club, wasn’t sure how many owners the team had when quizzed on the subject Thursday. But he said he expects Ferrell to be an active part of the club, which will begin play in 2018.
“He brings a whole different perspective,” Nguyen said. “He wants to be part of this journey. It’s not just ownership of a sports team. It’s being part of building something.
“Will really wants to participate.”
LAFC joined MLS in October 2014, paying a league-record $110-million expansion fee to replace the recently disbanded Chivas USA as Southern California’s second team, behind the Galaxy. And while the team won’t play a game for another two seasons, that doesn’t mean its owners haven’t been busy.
Over the last nine months the team settled on a name, found a home next to the Coliseum, picked a vice president of soccer operations in former MLS player John Thorrington and completed its branding with the introduction of its crest and colors Thursday.
At the center of the black crest are the letters LA, in gold. A stylized wing, symbolizing power and mobility -- but also a nod to the L.A. as “the city of the angels” -- protrudes prominently from the “A.”
The gold outline of the crest was inspired by the seal of the City of Los Angeles. Its Art Deco design reflects the iconic architecture of the city and recalls the Hollywood heyday before and after World War II.
Before Thursday the club’s website and other social media had used the colors red and black. And although red has been dropped from the crest, Nguyen said it will remain an official color.
“You’ll also see a flash of red,” he said. “It’s our heart.”
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