Report: Carolina RailHawks to Rebrand, Announce Bid for MLS

by JAKE NUTTING

Details of next week’s hyped Carolina RailHawks announcement have leaked, showing that the team is set to simultaneously announce a rebrand to North Carolina FC and a push for an expansion spot in MLS.

WRAL’s Neil Morris shared the news through Twitter. The leaked press release states that RailHawks owner Steve Malik has been meeting with MLS executives for over the last six months and has already conducted a study to show the area’s viability as a MLS market.

Also included in the leaked press release is the team’s new logo to go along with the rebrand, which utilizes the colors of North Carolina’s state flag.

An excerpt of the leaked release shows that Malik’s intention is to eventually move out of WakeMed Soccer Park. Part of his bid to secure a coveted MLS spot in the next year and a half will include a plan to construct a new 20,000-plus soccer specific stadium. WakeMed Soccer Park has long been considered one of the best facilities in the NASL, but its 10,000-seat capacity and location in Cary are likely seen as drawbacks to an MLS move. The release offers no insight on where Malik intends to build the next venue, although it might be worth noting that the team is hosting its December 6 event in downtown Raleigh.

Along with his MLS ambitions, Malik also seems prepared to go public with his interest in bringing an NWSL team to the area after flirting with the possibility by meeting with NWSL leadership during the summer. No timeline or name for the potential women’s team are mentioned in the leaked release, but EoS reported in September that Malik had trademarked Carolina Courage, the name of a former women’s team that played at WakeMed in the WUSA.