Forward Madison FC

American soccer team

Encyclopedia from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Forward Madison FC
Forward Madison FC logo.svg
Nickname(s)Flamingos, the 'Gos
FoundedMay 17, 2018; 2 years ago (2018-05-17)
StadiumHart Park
(temporary for 2020)
OwnerBig Top Events
Chief Operating OfficerConor Caloia
LeagueUSL League One
20207th Place
Playoffs: DNQ
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Forward Madison FC is an American professional soccer team based in Madison, Wisconsin. The team was founded in 2018, and played its inaugural season in 2019. The team competes in the third division of the US soccer league system, USL League One, and plays their home matches at Breese Stevens Field.


In January 2018, it was announced that Big Top Events, which owns the Madison Mallards and has operated Breese Stevens Field since 2015, were planning to bring a soccer franchise to Madison which would begin in early 2019.[2] As part of the plan, Big Top Events looked to have $2 million invested into renovating the stadium, pending a contract renegotiation with the City of Madison.[3] Big Top Events wished to have a longer term lease, along with an increase in the number of concerts at the stadium, more employees at the venue, and $1.6 million from the city for facility upgrades.[4]

On May 15, 2018, the Madison City Council approved a new ten-year contract with Big Top Events. As part of the agreement, the city agreed to pay $1.3 million toward facility improvements.[5] This included an expansion of the stadium for a seating capacity of 5,000.[6] Following this, Madison were officially announced as the fourth founding member of USL League One on May 17, 2018.[7] The professional league, which is the third-division in the US soccer league system, began in March 2019.[8][9] Madison became the first team based in the Midwestern United States to join the league, and is the only current outdoor professional soccer team in Wisconsin.[10] Following the announcement, Peter Wilt was appointed as managing director of the team.[11] Wilt is well-known for founding new clubs; Madison was the sixth team Wilt helped launch, having previously been involved in the formation of teams such as Chicago Fire and Indy Eleven.[12][13]

Logo of Madison Pro Soccer prior to the club name being chosen

In June 2018, Madison Pro Soccer began a "Name Your Club" online voting contest to recommend a name for the team.[14][15] Names under consideration spanned from traditional football names like "Madison United FC" to such whimsical choices as "Holsteins", "Madison Curds", and "77 Square Miles SC". On July 16, it was announced that the final vote was between the names "Forward Madison FC/SC" and "AFC Madison".[16] Forward Madison FC was announced as the official name on November 18, 2018, along with the logo and team colors, at an event at the Wisconsin Historical Society.[17] "Forward" is the state motto of Wisconsin.[18]

On September 27, 2018, Daryl Shore was announced as the first head coach of Madison.[19][20] He will also serve as the technical director of the team.[21][22] Shore had previously worked in various roles at Chicago Fire with Peter Wilt, and served as the interim coach of Real Salt Lake in 2017.[23][24] In September 2018, Don Smart was the team's first player signing, which was announced on October 24.[25]

The club announced, on December 7, 2018, a one-year affiliation agreement with Minnesota United FC of Major League Soccer.[26]

Following the club's inaugural season, Peter Wilt left to take a position with the league, developing supporters groups and assisting teams with their fan engagement.[27]

On March 5, 2020, the Forward Madison FC announced a one-year affiliation agreement with the Chicago Fire FC of Major League Soccer.[28]

Social media presence

The team started receiving national attention in January 2019, during the polar vortex, when the social media intern tweeted a photo of a plastic flamingo stuck in the snow accumulating on the field.[29] Within a few days, the snow became deep enough to cover the entire flamingo.[30] This second tweet went viral, ending up with over 22 thousand likes, and 7.8 thousand retweets.[31] "Full mingo" has become a catchphrase for the team.[30][32]

Forward Madison has a strong digital media presence, which the club uses to promote itself to fans outside of the Madison area, billing itself as "the world's second favorite team".[32][33]


On May 4, 2019, Forward Madison unveiled its dairy cow mascot, named "Lionela Bessi" following a fan vote.[34][35] Bessi was brought back for the club's second season.[36]


Breese Stevens Field hosts the team's matches.

The team plays their matches at Breese Stevens Field in Madison, which was expanded from a grandstand capacity of 3,740 to 5,000.[37] The stadium, which was built in 1925, is the city's oldest sports park. It is owned by the City of Madison and has been operated since 2015 by Big Top Events.[6] The venue has been designated as a city landmark since 1995, and in 2015 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[38] The stadium hosts the East High School soccer and football teams, the Madison Radicals ultimate team, as well as other sport competitions, concerts, and community events.[4]

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the club moved its 2020 USL League One season games to Hart Park in Wauwatosa, seventy-five miles away.[1][39]


Forward Madison FC's inaugural 2019 season saw an average home attendance of 4,292, the highest in USL League One.[40][41]


Badge and colors

The team's logo features a flamingo, as the city's official bird is the plastic flamingo lawn ornament.[42] It was designed by Madison-based graphic design firm Planet Propaganda.[43]

The color blue comes from the Madison flag, as does the white sash. At the bottom of the badge, Roman numerals spell out 608, the city's area code.[44]


Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor Sleeve sponsor
2019 Denmark Hummel Dairyland Insurance None
2020–present Just Coffee Co-op

Uniform History

Forward Madison's home jerseys feature a sky blue field with white sash, a reference to the city's flag (which itself references the geography of the city on an isthmus). A sublimated flamingo design appears on the home shirt, and sublimated pink flamingos dot the club's inaugural white away jersey.[42]

On March 14, 2020, Forward Madison unveiled its second-ever change shirt. The design features diagonal pink stripes, with names of 900 season ticket holders in the white space between.[45] The shirt was designed by members of the supporters group The Flock, in what is believed to be a first for professional sports.[46]

The club's original pink-patterned third jersey, worn in U.S. Open Cup appearances, was selected as the best world soccer jersey in satellite radio channel SiriusXM FC's 2019 "Kit of the Year" competition. It defeated the Chicago Red Stars home kit with over 200,000 votes.[47][48] A new third kit, featuring a swirling pattern of navy blue, sky blue, and pink, was unveiled on May 23, 2020.[49][50] Called the "Drip Kit", it was inspired by team designer Cassidy Sepnieski's experiments with hydro dipping.[51]



The club recognizes five independent supporters groups, each with a different focus.[52] The Flock is the first and largest group, and the Independent Supporters' Association for the club.[53] The other groups are La Barra 608, by and for Latinx fans, Forward Union with a focus on community service, Featherstone Flamingos, an inclusive group that celebrates Black culture (named for Don Featherstone, creator of the plastic lawn flamingo), and Mingo Ladies for supporters who identify as women. A portion of members of the Flock also run a group centered around civic engagement called "Pink Tape".[54]

The club also has an international membership program called Mingos Worldwide, which comes with a scarf bearing their promotional slogan "The World's Second Favorite Team".[33][18]

Players and staff

Current roster

As of October 25, 2020[55]

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 Austria AUT Philipp Marceta
3 MF United States USA Eric Leonard
4 DF United States USA Gustavo Fernandes
6 MF United States USA Brandon Eaton
7 FW Jamaica JAM Don Smart
8 MF United States USA Michael Vang
9 FW Poland POL Wojciech Wojcik
10 MF United States USA J. C. Banks
11 FW Brazil BRA Paulo Jr.
13 DF United States USA Connor Tobin (captain)
14 FW United States USA Jamael Cox
No. Pos. Nation Player
15 DF United States USA Jalen Crisler
17 DF United States USA Eli Lockaby
19 MF Tanzania TAN Vital Nizigiyimana
21 MF United States USA Louis Bennett II
23 DF United States USA Carl Schneider
27 DF Mexico MEX Christian Díaz
31 FW United States USA Noah Fuson
33 GK United States USA Brandon Barnes
44 DF Trinidad and Tobago TRI Josiah Trimmingham
77 FW Japan JPN Jiro Barriga Toyama

Coaches and management

Coaching staff
Vacant Head coach and technical director
United States Neil Hlavaty Assistant coach
United States Jim Launder Assistant coach
Sport management and organization
United States Conor Caloia Chief operating officer
United States Vern Stenman President



Year Division League Regular Season Playoffs US Open Cup
2019 3 USL1 4th National Semifinals 3R
2020 3 USL1 7th Did not qualify Cancelled

Head coaches record

As of October 24, 2020
  • Includes Regular Season, Playoffs, U.S. Open Cup. Excludes friendlies.
Name Nationality From To P W D L GF GA Win%
Daryl Shore  United States September 27, 2018 October 27, 2020 48 19 13 16 59 45 039.58


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  30. ^ a b @forwardmsnfc (January 28, 2019). "FULL MINGO!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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  48. ^ "Forward Madison Wins Award for Best Jersey in World Soccer". Forward Madison FC. December 20, 2019. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  49. ^ @Pigsonthewing (May 23, 2020). "An alternate jersey for the ages: Introducing the Drip Kit. (Droplet emoji) Get yours:" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  50. ^ Yoesting, Travis (May 23, 2020). "Holy Shit They Did It Again — Third-Tier USL Side Drops Season's Best Kit". The18. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  51. ^ Klein, Jason (May 23, 2020). "Flamingos' designer Cassidy Sepnieski created original artwork for new jersey". Forward Madison FC. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  52. ^ "Supporters". Forward Madison FC. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
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  54. ^ Jones, Sam (February 24, 2020). "Pink Tape Looks to "Flock the Vote"". Madison Commons. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  55. ^ "Forward Madison FC 2020 Roster". Forward Madison FC. Retrieved February 17, 2020.

External links

Original content from Wikipedia, shared with licence Creative Commons By-Sa - Forward Madison FC