MLS launches kids programme with logo that doubles as a mascot

Major League Soccer renews its relationship with brand studio Athletics to launch a recreation programme for players aged 4-14.

12 June 2023

Back in 2014, New York studio Athletics carried out a rebrand for Major League Soccer (MLS) in response to an explosion in the fandom across the US and Canada. MLS has launched a few design projects since – including an angular and typographically focused visual identity for its third-tier league MLS Next Pro. Now, almost a decade since its 2014 overhaul, MLS has joined back with Athletics to create the visual identity for MLS Go, a recreational soccer programme for kids who are not connected or don’t have access to existing soccer groups and initiatives.

Athletics delivered the visual identity, brand positioning and name in collaboration with MLS. Classic soccer mascots were a major visual inspiration for the studio. But rather than designing a mascot character which would appear as an individual element of the brand, Athletics has created a bright green mascot from the wordmark itself. When animated, the ‘Go’ letterforms split into a player and a football taking on activities like dribbling and cheerleading to represent the approachable nature of the league. The Go mascot also appears on unique MLS club-branded uniforms designed for players.

The hope is that each of these elements will create an “inspiring brand experience” to encourage young players to get into the game, a release states.

While this project required an entirely different visual approach in comparison to the 2014 rebrand, Athletics hoped to bottle the same excitement for the sport that existed during the period for a younger generation. “Whether destined for fandom or stardom, MLS Go will be the first step to developing a lasting love of the beautiful game, while providing a fun and affordable local soccer experience,” says the studio.

GalleryAthletics: MLS Go (Copyright © Athletics, 2023)

Athletics: MLS Go (Copyright © Athletics, 2023)

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Athletics: MLS Go (Copyright © Athletics, 2023)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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