Stop me if you've heard this, but I only recently found out. The MetroStars are still around.
But let me back up. I follow Australian soccer. First and second division. It's a lot. About one hundred teams, actually. And while I can't follow them all, many are active on social media just like in our own leagues, and I stumbled on a second-division club in the Adelaide area that has a very familiar brand.
Yes, the Northeastern MetroStars of the National Premier League of South Australia, have, since 1999, been using the name and modified logo of their New York contemporaries, with permission, of course.
Formed in 1994 as the Metro Knights Soccer Club, the team has become quite an institution in its suburban community. With youth teams to complement the senior squad, the MetroStars have an impressive trophy case, and won the 2014 National Premier Leagues title, the highest league championship available in the Australian lower divisions.
Joe Reppucci has been around the club for over 11 years, doing everything from coaching to sponsorships and media. He gave me a brief history of the club, and told me that it was at a meeting in New York in 1999 that the enterprising Charlie Stillitano, then the GM of the NY/NJ Metros, formed a verbal agreement with the Aussie outfit to grow the MetroStars brand. Stillitano didn't last much longer with his club, if you know your Metros history, but seems to have done well since.
The United States trademark for the name and old MetroStars logo has been the property of MLS since 2005, but neither the league nor the Red Bulls offices had much to say to me on the matter, and that's fair. This happened a long time ago, and trademarks don't necessarily carry over to other countries.
It's interesting though, especially with vintage memorabilia being so popular, and the fans of the NY/NJ MetroStars in particular having had such a recognizable brand taken away. Fans will, however, notice that the Aussie club utilizes much more yellow in its kit than did the MLS side.
What do you think? Have you just found a hip new club to support? Let us know in the comments below!