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Tailhook Soccer League


Gfonk04

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Tailhook Soccer League

Pacific Soccer Conference

Group A

Black Aces FC

Bullet FC

Black Knights (Rev 1)

Diamondback SC (Rev 1)

Fighting Redcocks

Okay, I'm headed off the reservation and breaking out a concept series that I've been working on for a long time. If there's one thing I love more than sports logos, it's aviation. I'm a military aviation enthusiast, and one of the cool things about military aviation is that each unit comes with its own logo and identity. The squadron's patches, paint schemes and even uniforms give each squadron their own brand. I was toying around with this idea and realized that each patch lends itself perfectly to sports logos. After messing around with baseball and American football, I realized that soccer is the perfect outlet for a series based on military aviation. The patches are pretty well set up for easy conversion to soccer team crests.

So, because Naval Aviation is the best aviation there is (sorry Army and Air Force bubbas, it's just the truth), and because fighter aviation is the best of Naval Aviation (sorry helicopter and patrol boys, you know it's a fact), I have created a soccer league composed of teams based on US Navy Fighter Squadrons.

My vision is to create a fighter aviation super league. The Navy league would be one part of it, with a league for the Air Force, Marines and ANG, with a Champions League-style playoff at the end. For now, though, I'm sticking with the Navy side of things. So without further ado:

Tailhook Soccer League

TSL-Logo.pngTSL-100-Logo.png

The TSL is divided into two conferences; just like Naval Aviation, the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets correspond to the Atlantic and Pacific Soccer Conferences. The League logo is based on the WWII US roundel, with the center star adjusted to look like a soccer ball, a la the 1994 World Cup logo. I also made a Centennial Anniversary logo, because the league shares it's founding date with Naval Aviation, 1911, and like Naval Aviation, would have celebrated its 100th birthday last year. I've completed the uniforms for the PSC, so we'll start on the West Coast.

Pacific Soccer Conference

PSC-Logo.png

The PSC, its logo based on the emblem of Strike Fighter Wing Pacific, contains 22 teams, mirroring the squadrons actually assigned to the Pacific Fleet, or based on the West Coast. These things are always changing in real life, but I'm sticking with the lineup as of about the middle of 2011, since everything balances between coasts pretty nicely.

The teams are organized into four groups, primarily based on which aircraft they fly, although this doesn't correspond exactly, so it's just a starting point. Group A is made up of squadrons that fly the FA-18F, the two seat model of the Super Hornet. Group B is comprised (mostly) of single seat FA-18E Super Hornet squadrons, while Groups C and D are FA-18C Hornet squadrons, or units that fly some other fighter (primarily the F-5E Tiger II).

A couple of notes on the designs. The crests, and thus colors, and to some extent the uniform design, are based off of the real squadron insignia. That means that there is little I can do to actually change the identity of a team. If you hate the patch, you probably won't like the concept, but it's a limitation of the system, in this case. I used sponsors that are associated in some way with the military or aviation, and for player names I used famous Naval Aviators. When possible, I've used aviators from the squadron depicted, but if someone from the squadron isn't available, I've picked someone from another (usually now disestablished) squadron.

We'll jump right into the first team:

Black Aces FC

VFASoccerPacificA_BlackAces.png

The team closest to my heart, the Black Aces, based off of VFA-41. The squadron uses a famous spade-and-stripe design, which I've incorporated into the design. Boeing, who manufactures the Super Hornet, is the sponsor. On the sleeves and collar is a spade stripe pattern, and on the inside of the collar is the squadron's motto: "First to Fight, First to Strike." The large stripe on the jerseys and shorts is overlayed with a sublimated "Fast Eagles," the squadron's radio call sign. Why it's "Fast Eagle," when the squadron is called the "Black Aces," no one really knows.

The third kit is an all-red uniform, using the traditional diagonal stripe associated with the squadron's patch and paint job. The NOB is Commander Hank Kleemann, the pilot of "Fast Eagle 102," who was engaged by, and then subsequently shot down one of two Libyan Su-22 Fitters over the Gulf of Sidra in 1981. This was the first air-to-air victory for the F-14 Tomcat, and led to the "First to Fight" part of the motto.

C&C is much appreciated. I know this is a bit off the beaten path, but I hope you'll follow along.

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This is going to sound weird, but I've been doing this exact same thing with football.

I think the red stripe on white is definitely the right call for VF-41. I'd like to see it diagonal, especially on white, but as long as its a red sash on white, you can't go wrong. One thing I'd look at is going a bit simpler with the crests. I don't know if you need to add banners and things to make these more soccery. A great crest here would be the card by itself, or even just a spade with 41 inside. I also wouldn't be afraid to clean up the typography on some of the squadron marks. Bring them into the 21st century. Some of them are great. I also think maybe the Fast Eagle stuff is a bit overboard.

f14a72vf41c3.jpg

This might be a cool sash design as well (minus the F-4 silhouette):

VF-41__33.jpg

Also, I know you want to stick with fighter squadrons, but some of the old attack squadrons that used to fly the A-6 but now fly the F/A-18 have some great imagery. Don't overlook those.

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This is going to sound weird, but I've been doing this exact same thing with football.

I think the red stripe on white is definitely the right call for VF-41. I'd like to see it diagonal, especially on white, but as long as its a red sash on white, you can't go wrong. One thing I'd look at is going a bit simpler with the crests. I don't know if you need to add banners and things to make these more soccery. A great crest here would be the card by itself, or even just a spade with 41 inside. I also wouldn't be afraid to clean up the typography on some of the squadron marks. Bring them into the 21st century. Some of them are great. I also think maybe the Fast Eagle stuff is a bit overboard.

IMAGE

This might be a cool sash design as well (minus the F-4 silhouette):

IMAGE

Also, I know you want to stick with fighter squadrons, but some of the old attack squadrons that used to fly the A-6 but now fly the F/A-18 have some great imagery. Don't overlook those.

Thanks for the info! This was the first concept I did, and I think you're right about the FE overprint. I'll probably ditch it in any revision. The point about the crests is a good one too. some later concepts get a bit more simplified or changed a bit, but hopefully with enough changes to mark them as different from their inspiration.

I took the numbers (from the patch) off the spade because in my mind, this isn't technically associated with the real squadrons. So you're not seeing the VFA-41 soccer team, you're seeing a soccer team with the same identity as VFA-41, so the including the number wouldn't really make sense. Does that explanation make sense?

I thought about going the diagonal stripe for all three kits, but my love of the USA's 2006 World Cup kits drove me to the vertical. I also liked keeping it tracking down onto the shorts.

And don't worry about the attack bubbas. Every current Navy VFA or VFC squadron will get their chance! Unfortunately, a lot of awesome old A-6 squadrons are totally gone now, the Main Battery, Sunday Punchers, Black Panthers, Green Pawns and lots more, just don't exist any more. Same with old A-7 squadrons like the Kiss of Death, Clansmen (plaid soccer team? That'd be awesome), etc. But the current squadrons are in the hopper.

I'd love to see your football concepts. I started on the Black Aces, but didn't get very far.

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Well, I'm worried that I'm posting these just for myself, Mr. Harrington and my lurker brother (hey dude!), so I'll just move right along.

Bullet FC

The Bounty Hunters of VFA-2 were one of the first two F-14 Tomcat squadrons, the other being the perfectly-suited-for-a-soccer-team-but-unfortunately-disestablished VF-1 Wolfpack (that patch is rad). Although technically only established in the 1970s, the squadron drew on the original squadron's history, keeping the red-white-and-blue stripe on their aircraft. The Bullets (their radio call sign and informal nickname) have two significant visual motifs, the aforementioned stripe and a skull, which make a pretty dope patch.

The stripe obviously lends itself to Adidas, the sponsor is Sony, which has no real connection to the military except that military personnel buy their TVs and PlayStations. Here's some Bullet action:

VFASoccerPacificA_BountyHunters.png

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This is going to sound weird, but I've been doing this exact same thing with football.

I think the red stripe on white is definitely the right call for VF-41. I'd like to see it diagonal, especially on white, but as long as its a red sash on white, you can't go wrong. One thing I'd look at is going a bit simpler with the crests. I don't know if you need to add banners and things to make these more soccery. A great crest here would be the card by itself, or even just a spade with 41 inside. I also wouldn't be afraid to clean up the typography on some of the squadron marks. Bring them into the 21st century. Some of them are great. I also think maybe the Fast Eagle stuff is a bit overboard.

f14a72vf41c3.jpg

This might be a cool sash design as well (minus the F-4 silhouette):

VF-41__33.jpg

Also, I know you want to stick with fighter squadrons, but some of the old attack squadrons that used to fly the A-6 but now fly the F/A-18 have some great imagery. Don't overlook those.

Just saying and I know it is completely unrelated but imagine that helmet design on a football helmet, that would look insane

EDIT: Gfonk04 would you mind if i try something similar to your black aces design but on a football uniform?

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EDIT: Gfonk04 would you mind if i try something similar to your black aces design but on a football uniform?

You can absolutely use the design. Although it sounds like you'll have to fight with andrewharrington to get yours out first. The designs (i.e. the original patches and jet paint schemes) belong to the American tax payer, so they aren't mine to control.

And if you're one of our non-American allies, I'm sure you could use them too, the NATO treaty covers sports concepts, I'm pretty sure.

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EDIT: Gfonk04 would you mind if i try something similar to your black aces design but on a football uniform?

You can absolutely use the design. Although it sounds like you'll have to fight with andrewharrington to get yours out first. The designs (i.e. the original patches and jet paint schemes) belong to the American tax payer, so they aren't mine to control.

And if you're one of our non-American allies, I'm sure you could use them too, the NATO treaty covers sports concepts, I'm pretty sure.

thanks i was just making sure it wouldnt offend you or anything, btw what the NATO treaty? and yes i am not american

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thanks i was just making sure it wouldnt offend you or anything, btw what the NATO treaty? and yes i am not american

It won't offend me at all! I'm just making a joke about sharing stuff with our allies. NATO is the main treaty of alliance between the US and Europe and Canada.

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Another good set you've got here, VF-2 having quite a colorful look. I'd probably lean toward going with the more golden yellow, but I don't hate the pastel yellow. Red, white and blue stripe is a no-brainer. For the crest, though, I think you've got a perfect one to work from here if you remove the shield from the circle and figure something out for the bi-planes:

VFA2-insignia-with-true-colors.JPG

Or you could just go with the skull by itself, but I think that should be reserved for VF-84/VF-103.

VF2-CAG-030531-N-0000X-001.jpg

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Another good set you've got here, VF-2 having quite a colorful look. I'd probably lean toward going with the more golden yellow, but I don't hate the pastel yellow. Red, white and blue stripe is a no-brainer. For the crest, though, I think you've got a perfect one to work from here if you remove the shield from the circle and figure something out for the bi-planes:

IMAGE

Or you could just go with the skull by itself, but I think that should be reserved for VF-84/VF-103.

IMAGE

I went with pale yellow for the Bullets because the squadron actually wears pale yellow t-shirts under their flight suits. I don't know why, but they do. It's a very distinct yellow, and not the same as in the crest. My earlier versions were closer to the patch, but in the end, I just borrowed the shield's shape and emphasized the Langley stripe.

Thanks for the comments. I would love to have some other folks chime in on these, but I'm glad there's at least one other aviation enthusiast out there... Let's move on:

Black Knights

The Black Knights of VFA-154 have a pretty bland identity. The patch is too complicated and the tail flash is just kinda boring... Two diagonal stripes? That's it? Well, that's it, I guess. Their motto stinks too: "BKR," which stands for the completely unremarkable "Black Knights Rule," so for the crest I went with a shield shape, the two stripes and the BK initials as a nod to the terrible motto. To be fair, recently the squadron has been reviving a slightly better Knight logo (middle right of the page), which I might try to use in future iterations.

So this concept is somewhat constrained by the original identity. The sponsor is Vanguard, who make military insignia and medals and the like. The NOB is Lieutenant Commander Cecil Harris, recipient of the Navy Cross and the US Navy's second-highest scoring ace in WWII with 24 air-to-air victories.

VFASoccerPacificA_BlackKnights.png

Although I'm enjoying the conversation between andrewharrington, lancealot and myself, if anyone else wants to weigh in, I'd appreciate it!

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That's the one thing I like about soccer uniforms you have so much freedom so you can basically incoperate anything you want, I think the third would look better if there was a thin outline between the red stripes and the rest of the uniform, it would define the two stripes more. I like the crest simple but effective and that font is awesome but for use as numbers I think it should be a little thicker. But that's just my five cents :)

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Black Aces FC- I love most of this, but I think that the subliminal ace would look better as just a black ace in the stripe.

Bullet FC- once again great job. My only suggestions I will make is to make the RWB stripe diaganol (like how it is in the crest). I think you could have updated the crest a little too. I would buy that away shirt in a second. :P

Black Knights- I like the general design of this, but there are some problems. First, the font is unreadable, I recommend changing it. Secondly, I agree with lancealot in that a outline on the stripes would define them more. Also, on the third and keeper kits, I think you shouldn't have the black part of the stripes in between the red. The black really muddles up those two kits.

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Black Aces FC- I love most of this, but I think that the subliminal ace would look better as just a black ace in the stripe.

Bullet FC- once again great job. My only suggestions I will make is to make the RWB stripe diaganol (like how it is in the crest). I think you could have updated the crest a little too. I would buy that away shirt in a second. :P

Black Knights- I like the general design of this, but there are some problems. First, the font is unreadable, I recommend changing it. Secondly, I agree with lancealot in that a outline on the stripes would define them more. Also, on the third and keeper kits, I think you shouldn't have the black part of the stripes in between the red. The black really muddles up those two kits.

Thanks for the feedback! The subliminal spade may go away, I like it less and less the more I think about it. I'll think about adding it to the stripe, since that would reflect the tail flash and the patch. I think it would conflict with the crest, but that could be moved too...

I think I'm going to keep the Bullets' stripe vertical for the home and keeper kits, I neglected to mention that the Bullets have flight suits that actually use a vertical RWB stripe. I used a thicker design than the flight suit since I used the biased stripe for the Black Aces. I may make it thinner, however. I kinda like the crest as a compromise between the patch and the diagonal Langely stripe, but throw me some suggestions and I'll see what I can do.

Thanks to everyone for the feedback on the Black Knights, who I wasn't super enthusiastic about, so i probably just got a little lazy. I changed the number font a little and ditched the black interior on the third and keeper jerseys. Let me know how you like it:

VFASoccerPacificA_BlackKnightsRev1.png

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imo the vertical diamonds look better and should at least be on the away if not the keeper and third, the diamond in the numbers look awesome, but i am not a fan of the horizontal stripes on the third and vertical on the home i think they should both be the same, oh and the keepers top looks awesome :) once again good job all round

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Well, I'm going to keep this going, even though it's falling below my usual 100-to-1 view-to-reply ratio (especially considering most of the replies are by me). But I've spent too long making these to just quit because most of you aren't interested.

Fighting Redcocks

The Redcocks are an interesting squadron, considering they've transitioned from single-seat Hornets to single-seat Super Hornets, to two-seat Super Hornets, considering most two-seat Super Hornet squadrons came out of old Tomcat squadrons. The Redcocks are well known for their "Super Dave" stripes on their aircraft and helmets, and their motto: "YCBAR' (Google it). I thought about an all-red kit to match their now-discarded all-red flight suits, but like the flightsuits, the monochrome kit was pretty tough to look at. The collar has a star trim, and the shoulders have a sublimated star pattern. The inside of the collar has the motto, the kit maker is Puma, the sponsor is Goodyear. The NOB is Alexander Vraciu, WWII's fourth-highest ranking Navy ace, with 19 victories. He once shot down 6 Japanese "Judy" dive bombers in the span of eight minutes.

VFASoccerPacificA_RedcocksRev1.png

I'd love to get six comments in eight minutes...

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I've never really liked anything about the Black Knights, and I think that carries over into their soccer kit. I don't even think I could create something I like for them.

Nice ideas on the Diamondbacks. I'm thinking ditch all the extra stuff on the shirts and just use the CAG stripe as the main element. The home looks very basebally with the diamonds and the skinny pinstripes.

I quite like the Redcocks, but I feel the shorts and tops compete. Maybe leave the shorts a bit less adorned than the complex top design.

Side note: I just booked my trip to NAS Oceana for air show weekend.

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