Birmingham Legion FC

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Birmingham Legion FC
Full nameBirmingham Legion FC
FoundedAugust 9, 2017; 6 years ago (2017-08-09)
StadiumProtective Stadium
Capacity47,100
Owners
  • Jack Bryant
  • Billy Harbert
  • John Harbert
  • Jeff Logan
  • James Outland
  • Jim Rein
  • Lee Styslinger III
  • Dominique Wilkins
President and
general manager
Jay Heaps
Head coachTom Soehn
LeagueUSL Championship
20224th, Eastern Conference
Playoffs: Conference quarterfinals
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Birmingham Legion FC is an American professional soccer club based in Birmingham, Alabama, that competes in the USL Championship, the second division of American soccer. The team was established in August 2013 and played under the name Birmingham Hammers until 2018 and began their first professional season as Legion FC on March 10, 2019.

History[edit]

On August 9, 2017, the United Soccer League (now known as USL Championship), the Division II sanctioned league by the United States Soccer Federation, granted a team for Birmingham to begin play in the 2019 season.[1] On January 17, 2018, the team name was revealed as Birmingham Legion FC, a reference to the historic Legion Field that opened in 1927. However, the team instead played at BBVA Field, the home of the UAB Blazers soccer program.[2]

Oak Mountain High School graduate and Real Monarchs' star forward Chandler Hoffman signed on as the team's first player in July 2018.[3] In August the team announced that Tom Soehn would be the first head coach of Birmingham Legion FC.[4]

Their first professional game resulted in a 2–0 defeat against Bethlehem Steel FC on March 10, 2019.[5]

During the 2023 U.S. Open Cup, Birmingham Legion FC defeated a Major League Soccer (MLS) side for the first time, with a 1-0 win over Charlotte FC in the round of 16. The game was played at Protective Stadium before a record home crowd of 12,722.[6] Legion FC's U.S. Open Cup run was cut short by MLS team Inter Miami CF after a 0-1 loss at Protective Stadium in the quarter-final of the U.S. Open Cup, setting yet another record attendance of 18,418 spectators.[7]

Stadium[edit]

Legion FC played its home matches at Protective Stadium, which also serves as the Blazers' home field, which began in the 2021-22 season.

On March 15, 2021, Legion FC was forced to move its scheduled match against rival Memphis 901 to historic Legion Field because of unplayable pitch conditions at PNC Field, caused by heavy rains in the previous days. The match, dubbed "Legion at Legion," drew a club-record crowd of 10,177, which the club said was also the largest crowd ever to attend a professional soccer match in Alabama.[8] (Legion Field's largest soccer crowd ever was a 1996 Summer Olympics match between the United States and Argentina, which also set the stadium's all-time attendance record with 83,810 fans.) Inclement weather also forced delays or cancellations in other matches.

In November 2021, the club and the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees agreed to terminate Legion FC's eight-year lease early. No reason was announced through official channels.[9] On December 7, 2021, the club announced the Legion would play their home games at Protective Stadium starting with their 2022 season.[10][11]

Club culture[edit]

Rivalries[edit]

Birmingham competes in the Southern Harm derby against rivals Memphis 901.[12]

Sponsorship[edit]

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
2019–2021 Nike Red Diamond[13]
2022–2023 Coca-Cola
BODYARMOR
2024–present Hummel[14]

Players and staff[edit]

Roster[edit]

As of February 14, 2024[15]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK United States USA Matt Van Oekel
3 DF Democratic Republic of the Congo COD Phanuel Kavita
5 MF United States USA Mikey Lopez
7 FW Nigeria NGA Diba Nwegbo
10 FW Ghana GHA Prosper Kasim
13 DF United States USA Jake Rufe
15 FW Canada CAN Tyler Pasher
17 MF United States USA Matthew Corcoran
18 GK United States USA Trevor Spangenberg
19 MF Uruguay URU Enzo Martínez
No. Pos. Nation Player
21 DF United States USA Alex Crognale
28 FW Cameroon CMR Tabort Etaka Preston
33 DF Ghana GHA Moses Mensah
MF United States USA Finn Calloway [A]
MF United States USA Dawson McCartney
DF Grenada GRN A. J. Paterson
MF United States USA Miguel Perez (on loan from St. Louis City)
FW Brazil BRA Stefano Pinho
FW Sierra Leone SLE Mohamed Buya Turay
  1. ^
    USL Academy Contract

Team management[edit]

Front office
Owners Jack Bryant
Billy Harbert
John Harbert
Jeff Logan
James Outland
Jim Rein
Lee Styslinger III
President and general manager Jay Heaps
Vice president of operations Jason Coleman
Director of ticketing Cason Gooch
Coaching staff
Head coach Tom Soehn
Assistant coach Eric Avila
Assistant coach Braeden Cloutier

Last updated: March 25, 2019
Source: [1]

Team records[edit]

Year-by-year[edit]

As of July 22, 2023
Season USL Championship Play-offs U.S. Open Cup Top scorer 1 Head Coach Avg. attendance
P W L D GF GA Pts Pos Player Goals
2019 34 12 15 7 35 51 43 10th, Eastern Conference quarterfinals 3rd Round United States J.J. Williams 8 United States Tom Soehn 4,541
2020 16 7 5 4 29 19 28 2nd, Group G Conference quarterfinals Canceled Jamaica Neco Brett 9 1,250
2021 32 18 8 6 51 31 61 2nd, Central Conference semifinals Canceled Jamaica Neco Brett 18 4,389
2022 34 17 10 7 56 37 58 4th, Eastern Conference quarterfinals 3rd Round Uruguay Enzo Martínez 15 5,405
2023 34 14 16 4 44 53 46 7th,

Eastern

Conference semifinals Quarter Final Jamaica Neco Brett 11 5,091

^ 1. Top scorer includes statistics from league matches only.

Head coaches[edit]

  • Includes USLC regular season, USLC playoffs, U.S. Open Cup. Excludes friendlies.
Coach Nationality Start End Games Win Loss Draw Win %
Tom Soehn  United States August 16, 2018 present 126 57 44 25 045.24

References[edit]

  1. ^ "USL Officially Awards Franchise to Birmingham". USL. August 9, 2017.
  2. ^ "Birmingham Legion FC Branding Unveiled". United Soccer League. January 17, 2018. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  3. ^ Inabinett, Mark (July 30, 2018). "Chandler Hoffman coming home as Birmingham Legion FC's first player". The Birmingham News. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  4. ^ Stephenson, Greg (August 16, 2018). "Birmingham Legion FC hires Tom Soehn as head coach". The Birmingham News. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  5. ^ Legion FC Communications Team (March 10, 2019). "Sellout crowd sees Legion FC fall in inaugural season home opener". BHMLegion.com. Birmingham Legion FC. Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  6. ^ Legion FC Communications Team (May 24, 2023). "Legion FC Triumphs 1-0 over MLS Club Charlotte FC and Makes Alabama Sports History". BHMLegion.com. Birmingham Legion FC. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  7. ^ jjgood (June 7, 2023). "Birmingham Legion FC's Open Cup Run Comes to an End in Dramatic 1-0 Loss Against Inter Miami". BHMLegion.com. Birmingham Legion FC. Retrieved June 9, 2023.
  8. ^ "Legion FC Defeats Memphis in Front of Record Crowd of 10,177 at Historic Legion Field". Birmingham Legion FC (via OurSportsCentral). May 15, 2021. Retrieved November 29, 2021.
  9. ^ Seale, Michael (November 5, 2021). "Legion FC And UAB End Stadium Lease Agreement". Patch Birmingham. Retrieved November 29, 2021.
  10. ^ Goodman, Joe (November 5, 2021). "'Overrated' Birmingham Legion FC ready for first home playoff game". Birmingham News/al,com. Retrieved November 29, 2021.
  11. ^ Turrentine, Caleb (December 7, 2021). "Legion officially name Protective Stadium as home field for 2022". ABC 33/40. Retrieved December 7, 2021.
  12. ^ "A brief introduction to Birmingham vs. Memphis, AKA Southern Harm". uslchampionship.com. June 7, 2022. Retrieved June 9, 2022.
  13. ^ Patchen, Tyler (December 17, 2018). "Legion FC unveils new jersey and home-opener opponent". The Birmingham Business Journal. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  14. ^ "Birmingham Legion FC Announces Multi-Year Partnership with hummel".
  15. ^ "Roster Archive".

External links[edit]