Tampa Bay’s first top-tier women’s professional soccer team has chosen the name Tampa Bay Sun FC, the team announced during a community event Saturday in Ybor City in which it unveiled its name, logo and colors.
Hundreds of fans gathered as Tampa Mayor Jane Castor officially shared the branding of the USL Super League franchise, which will begin play in August 2024, according to a team news release.
The name was chosen following months of discussions and meetings with fan groups, club president Christina Unkel explained. The goal was to discover the common thread that binds the community together.
“We wanted to capture part of what 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.
The team received more than 2,500 ideas from the public. The nine people who suggested Tampa Bay Sun will receive a prize pack, including new team merchandise and a ball signed by the team.
“Creating a community-centered club has been our unwavering focus since day one,” said co-owner Darryl Shaw. “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.”
The team will play its first seasons in an upgraded and expanded stadium along the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa that it will share with Blake High School while it searches for a permanent home. The club will invest more than $4 million to enhance the facility.
The team will be coached by longtime USF women’s soccer coach Denise Schilte-Brown, who will now begin building a roster of players. The process of announcing the team will start early next year. The team will report for training early next summer at its facility in Ybor City.
The USL Super League’s inaugural season will launch with eight markets, with others joining in subsequent seasons.
In addition to Shaw, local business leaders David Laxer and Jeff Fox serve as co-owners of the team.
The team is now accepting deposits for season tickets at tampabaysunfc.com. The deposit for the club’s August 2024 debut is $24 per ticket. Team apparel is now available online at the same website.