After five years of buildup, the name of Portland's new soccer team was finally announced.

Your brand-new Portland team is now officially known as Hearts of Pine. It was publicly announced recently for the first time at a family event at Brick South on Thompson's Point in Portland. An estimated two thousand folks attended the ceremony, which also included season ticket deposits and merchandise, which went very fast.

Hearts of Pine via Facebook
Portland Hearts of Pine via Facebook

The name Hearts of Pine has an incredible connection to Portland and Maine. The heart is the unofficial symbol of Portland, thanks to the legacy of the city's iconic Valentine's Day Bandit. Since 1979, Kevin Farnham, a local teacher and musician, began sneakily putting hearts across the city for Valentine's Day. Over the years, the day continued to grow where hearts of all sizes started to appear, making it a national phenomenon. Sadly, Farnham unexpectedly passed away in 2023, but the legend lives on, both in the city and now on the soccer pitch.

The heart is also the focal point of the other part of the name, the pine. It's not just the pine tree that gets the love. It's the heartwood. I'll let the team explain it.

Portland Hearts of Pine via Facebook
Portland Hearts of Pine via Facebook

The spirit of this brand epitomizes Mainers so well. It's about strength and community, growth, and facing adversity, characteristics that mean quite a lot for us. It's also why it's no surprise to see such an incredible response to this team and name.

We are also lucky to live in a region that is rather sports-crazed, with Portland being one of the best minor league cities in the nation. We will see this community welcome this with open arms. Also, the Portland Sea Dogs, Maine Celtics, and Maine Mariners have all proved that these teams can co-exist and support one another. Throwing another team into the mix will only bring more support and awareness to them all.

Hearts of Pine will debut in 2025, with games being played at Portland's Fitzpatrick Stadium. There will be some improvements to the stadium that will be announced in the coming future. The team will be playing in the USL League One. It is the third tier of US Soccer, only behind the MLS and the USL Championship. Currently, there are 12 teams in the league. However, Portland is one of seven future teams that have been announced.

Season ticket deposits have also begun. Information of those, as well as the brand-new merchandise options can be found on the team's website.

As a soccer fan and a Mainiac, I can't tell you how excited I am about this new venture. I wish Gabe and everyone over at Hearts of Pine the very best of luck as five years of handwork is certainly starting to pay off.

Up the Hearts! I'll see you all at Fitzy in 2025.

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