RailHawks Ownership Trademark Fmr. WUSA Team Name Carolina Courage

by JAKE NUTTING and BILL REESE

Are the Courage coming back to women’s soccer?

EoS has learned that Carolina FC LLC, the parent company of the North American Soccer League’s Carolina RailHawks, registered a trademark on the name “Carolina Courage” last week.

RailHawks owner Steve Malik has been somewhat active when it comes to trademarks since purchasing the club from Traffic Sports late last year. At the start of this year, Malik secured the trademark for the “Carolina Flight” as he mulled a possible rebrand for the NASL club in the future.

The Courage name is unlikely to have anything to do with a potential rebranding of the RailHawks, though. Fastidious followers of women’s soccer will recall the Carolina Courage was a member of the of the Women’s United Soccer Association, the world’s first professional women’s league. The WUSA suspended operations after only three seasons, but in that time, the Courage won the league title once and shared WakeMed Soccer Park with the RailHawks in 2002 and 2003.

RailHawks President and General Manger Curt Johnson acknowledged recently that the club has had advanced talks with National Women’s Soccer League Commissioner Jeff Plush about the possibility of starting up a team in that league.

“We are interested,” Johnson told The Equalizer in July. “Our owner, Steve Malik and I met with Jeff Plush in Chicago in June, and we have had further conversations. There is interest from both sides, and the process is on-going. We are just doing our due diligence and getting the lay of the land, understanding budgets, the relationship with U.S. Soccer and the long-term vision.”

Johnson stated in the same interview that there was no timeline for expansion yet, but a decision would need to be made within the next two months if they were to start play in 2017.

“The process is evolving,” added Johnson. “If, and it’s a big if right now, we were going to play in 2017, I think a decision would have to be made in the next 60 days.I think we have the facilities, the support and there are a lot of top players in the area.”