In 2015, Erie’s representative in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) will play its inaugural season under its new name, Erie Commodores Football Club (ECFC).
While the team has changed its name (formerly Erie Admirals SC) and logo, it will return to its roots and wear a traditional blue and white uniform while adding a hint of gold. The Commodores wish to remain tied to its successful history with the changes a rebranding effort as opposed to a separation from its past. The Commodores will continue the Admirals’ tradition of success, both on and off the field.
The selection of a new name, through a competition in the Erie Times-News, allowed ECFC to become “club neutral” in the Erie area. The idea of changing the name and overall identity of the club has been something that has been in the pipeline for a while.
“It’s time to make the change and go ‘club neutral’ after six seasons as the Erie Admirals,” former five-year head coach and current majority owner John Melody commented. “Given the small market that the club operates in, it is important to promote the game to all clubs in the area.”
Despite long-standing rivalries within the NPSL, there is a great rapport between clubs off the field, and Melody alluded to the fact that “the decision was prompted by dialogue with other clubs that compete in similar-sized markets as Erie.”
The Commodores name continues a nautical theme and champions such heroes as Commodore Perry and the significant impact he had during the Battle of Lake Erie. The ties to Erie’s maritime history are also symbolized by the the ship on the logo which represents the U.S. Brig Niagara, a vessel that also played an integral part in the Battle of Lake Erie.
Along with the Commodores name continuing to remember Erie’s naval history, it is imperative that the club also remembers the Admirals’ history. This is a team that made an undefeated route to the National Championship game in its inaugural season, falling to the County Sol 2-1 in overtime in Madison, Wisconsin. It is a team that has also made the postseason consistently. The team has made the Final Four three times in six seasons, each time losing out to the eventual National Champion.
On each of the occasions that Erie has missed out on the postseason, they have done so agonizingly, either finishing second in the conference by a meager margin, or losing out in the conference playoffs. Throughout its history, major rivalries have been formed in the early seasons with Buffalo and then in later years against Detroit.
“Becoming the Commodores will change nothing on the field,” six-year goalkeeper Danny Mudd stated. “We will continue to have that ‘never-say-die’ attitude and ultimately the identity and philosophy within the team as a playing unit will remain constant.”
The Commodores will open play for the 2015 season against familiar foe AFC Cleveland on May 23, with its opening home fixture at its new venue, Gus Anderson Field at McDowell High School against the same opponent.
New head coach Neil Brown, who served as associate head coach for four years, is eager to continue the success that Erie has seen over the past six seasons.
“Although we have gone in a new direction with the team, as the head coach I will not be taking my eye off the idea of winning games and pushing for that elusive National Championship. All we ask is that during this time of transition our supporters to continue our mantra and ‘don’t give up the ship!’”