Soccer logos and crests are very important to a lot of people. They are, essentially, the symbol which represents your team, and as such, it is important to get it right. Badge and logo changes can be the cause of much uproar and contention, with supporters often preferring the old design to the new one, as was the case with Everton quite recently, whose new logo that the board approved of lasted just a season following major complaints.
Your club crest will typically be found on your shirt, on your stadium, on club advertising, everywhere. Most teams change their logo every so often, typically once a decade, although some retain classic designs. Often the new badge is nothing more than a re-vamp, just to keep things fresh, but occasionally wholesale changes are made. Clearly soccer logos are hugely important then, to both a club's supporters and marketing teams, for very different reasons.
Historic logos such as those used by A.C. Milan and Real Madrid are some of the best known and most marketable in the world, but what about those logo's that are just a little bit different. This is a list of some of the weirdest and strangest soccer logos out there, but only includes those still in use, thus ruling out some classic 1970s designs and Columbus Crew's recently removed badge. Here are the top 15 weirdest soccer logos:
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15 Rochester Rhinos (U.S.)
Formerly known as the 'Rochester Raging Rhinos', the now less enraged Rhinos were first founded in 1996. Based in Rochester, New York, the club have long been considered one of the strongest U.S. sides outside of the MLS, although they now play in the third tier. The Rhinos have had a number of logos over their short history, and although the current rhino is not as aggressive as some of his predecessors, its still an odd looking thing. To this day, Rochester Rhinos are the only non-MLS team to win the U.S. Open Cup.
14 Universitario (Peru)
When you're one of the most successful and well-supported teams in the land, you can sometimes take liberties and get away with it, and it appears that is what Universitario have done with regards to their logo. The 26-time Peruvian champions are the most decorated club in Peru, so if they just want a huge U as their logo, then that's what they're going to do, and they have done for 90 years now, ever since Luis Malaga, one of the club's founders drew up the big 'U' and liked the look of it.
13 K.A.A. Gent (Belgium)
In the early 1900s, K.A.A. Gent had a normal logo just like everyone else, until the arrival of Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Circuit to the city of Gent that is. The club took the nickname 'The Buffalos' after the incident. After the bleakest era in their history, the 1970s, the club underwent an image change, changing their name from the French to the Flemish and changing their logo to incorporate a native American. The image supposedly symbolizes Gent's "fight and struggle".
12 A.F.C. Bournemouth (England)
The only Premier League team to make this list, and they are the division's minnows. Bournemouth have spent most of their existence in the third and fourth tier, with this season being their first in the top flight and the club playing in just an 11,464 capacity stadium. Their current kit and logo was decided upon in 1972, based on the colors of A.C. Milan, and their crest is supposed to show former player Dickie Dowsett heading a ball.
11 Cobresal (Chile)
Chilean Primera Division side Cobresal are based in the Chilean mining town of El Salvador, in the Atacama Region. Cobresal have wasted no time incorporating their worklife into their club logo, with the main feature of the badge being a rather badly drawn mining helmet sitting on top of a football. The whole thing looks like it was created using Microsoft Clip Art image in the late 1990s, but Cobresal won't care, as they became national champions for the first time in their history in 2015.
10 Falkirk (Scotland)
The 1970s saw the birth of a number of quirky, unusual and interesting logo designs, but sadly most have become obsolete since then. Not Falkirk though. The Scottish Championship side have retained their classic 1970s design and we're glad they have. The club have simply combined one of the town's most famous landmarks, Falkirk Steeple, with a football and voila, there you have it, a classy and distinctive logo.
9 Pumas (Mexico)
Much like Universitario in Chile, Pumas UNAM can get away with a rather unusual design due to their success on the pitch. One of Mexico's biggest teams, Pumas have won seven national championships and play in a 52,000 seater stadium. The club's former players include two of the countries greatest of all time, Hugo Sanchez and Jorge Campos. The Pumas logo is a golden puma on a blue/purple background. There is no valid reason for this. The best the club can offer up is that former boss Roberto Mendez likened his players to pumas and it stuck.
8 Carolina Dynamo (U.S.)
They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, but you have to draw the line somewhere. There is a history in soccer of teams pinching other teams' logos when they're struggling to come up with their own design, such as Brampton City United's rip off of Manchester United's badge and Ibstock United's bizarre copying of Hereford United's logo. Carolina Dynamo is the worst of the lot though.
The U.S. PDL (fourth tier) side is owned by a huge Nottingham Forest fan, and it is for that reason he seems to have terribly stolen the former European champions' logo before adding a blue triangle and the words 'Carolina Dynamo'.
7 Matlock Town (England)
Another design from the motherland of the game, England, but from the Premier League to non-league, we now look at Northern Premier League (seventh tier) side Matlock Town. The club were founded in 1878 and play in a stadium with a capacity of 2,757, although there are only 500 seats. Matlock are nicknamed the 'Gladiators', and that can be seen in their logo. While there is nothing wrong with a gladiator as your mascot/nickname/logo, without being told, one is unlikely to know that Matlock's crest is a football logo at all. Given their lowly status they might be advised to tell people who they are on their logo.
6 Independiente Santa Fe (Colombia)
The Independiente Santa Fe logo is normal in many ways. It features the classic shield design shape, as used by many clubs, with the team name written at the top. However, in the shield itself, that is where Santa Fe differs from most. While clubs tend to have a monument or something relevant to the city/team themselves, Santa Fe have left the shield largely blank, with the exception of a red circle at the bottom right of the badge. Why? We have no idea. But the club have won eight national championships, most recently in 2014, so it's working for them.
5 FC Avenir Beggen (Luxembourg)
Into the top five and we're now talking about some seriously strange logos. We kick off our countdown of the top 5 with a little known team from Luxembourg. Luxembourg isn't a country steeped in footballing excellence, arguably their greatest ever player is currently 34 and playing in the Belgian second tier. FC Avenir Beggen play in Luxembourg's second tier in a stadium with a capacity of 4,830, although they have been national champions eight times previously. As for their logo, there really isn't much one can say, other than it is a badly drawn image of a pixie sitting on a football...
4 Sampdoria (Italy)
One of the best known teams on this list, Sampdoria's logo may be bizarre but it is also classic and instantly recognizable. To explain the logo, you must first know a little bit about the place itself. Sampdoria is Italy's second largest port city, with a great tradition of sailing. As such, they felt a sailor would be the perfect image for their crest. Unfortunately, in the drawing it is rather difficult to see that, and some see it as a werewolf or some other creation. In the late 1990's an anti-tobacco group tried to take away the sailor's pipe, but the club fought and succeeded in retaining their classic logo.
3 FC Santa Claus (Finland)
Okay, I suppose if your team is called 'FC Santa Claus' then having an image of the great man himself is hardly that weird. Having said that, it's still a football logo with a picture of Santa writing on a scroll on it. If we accept that as a norm I fear we are verging into dangerous territory. Founded in 1993, in the Finnish city of Rovaniemi, FC Santa Claus play in a 2,500 capacity stadium in the third tier of Finnish football.
2 Bohemians 1905 (Czech Republic)
Why does a team in the Czech Republic have a picture of a kangaroo as their logo you ask? Good question. Well, in 1927, Bohemians went on a tour of Australia (it's all coming together now isn't it), and once the tour was over, the Australians gave the Bohemians two kangaroos as a gift. The Prague-based club had no home for the animals and gave them to Prague Zoo, but the legacy stuck.
The team were nicknamed the kangaroos and they created their distinctive kangaroo-based logo which remains to this day. Bohemians 1905's greatest player was Antonin Panenka. The Czech legend became world famous at Euro '76, when he scored a chipped penalty to win the game against West Germany. The technique became known as the 'Panenka', and has since been used by the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Andrea Pirlo and Neymar.
1 Free State Stars F.C. (South Africa)
Top of this list as the weirdest logo in use in world soccer today, is that of South African team Free State Stars F.C. The Free State Stars play in the ABSA Premiership, the top flight of South African football, in a 20,000 seater stadium. Their logo is difficult to explain. The reasoning behind it is equally unknown. It appears to be a Dalek holding some form of stick/baton/weapon. The Stars have had mixed fortunes in recent years, fluctuating between the first and second tier, but have had international stars such as Jonathan Mensah and Siphiwe Tshabalala play for them.
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