August 26, 2012

MLS: The Best and Worst Club Names in Major League Soccer

I ♥ Wondolowski
As a Profession Baby Names Consultant, I wanted to weigh in on sports teams' names, specifically, American Soccer. I've been subscribing to MLS Live all year, and indulging in and binging on matches from all over the country. I've noticed that if I'm describing some of these games to non-soccer-following friends, they're often amused or astonished by some of the NAMES of our teams. So, partially for the benefit of my friends unfamiliar with these teams, here are my opinions of the very best and worst club names for upper division soccer clubs in the U.S.

Many of the MLS teams have generic soccer club names, like FC Dallas or D.C. United. I respect these names (even if "Football Club" should really be "Soccer Club," right?) Clubs with names like "Colorado Rapids" or "LA Galaxy" sounds more traditional Americanny, and again, I like them. These are the ones that stand out to me for their awesomeness or their horribleness:

5 Best MLS Club Names:

5. Philadelphia Union - My friend Mr Aha's choice. "Such an abstract concept to cheer for at a sports match," he texts me. It's similar to United, which has old world footballing cred, but with a bit of patriotic flavor.
4. Chicago Fire - Naming your sports team after a famous disaster that your city suffered is highly encouraged. And the old school firefighter-inspired badge as their logo is very classy.
3. San Jose Earthquakes - See above, except tenfold... Because earthquakes continue to be a massive fear in the bay area. (Remember that the 1989 one happened during a World Series game between the two bay area baseball teams.) 
2. Sporting Kansas City - I don't know why the Kansas City Wizards rebranded with this name, but I love it. The retro / anglophilic "Sporting" seems almost ironic, but this excellent team owns it perfectly.
1. Real Salt Lake - Beautiful juxtaposition of European naming style (Real Madrid) with distinctive American place name. My favorite MLS name.

5 Worst MLS Club Names:

5. Houston Dynamo - What even is a Dynamo? Power? Houston strong! Houston powerful!
4. Montreal Impact - or, Impact de Montréal. I don't know if "impact" seems less dorky in French, but it has no poetry in English. We are a soccer club and we will slam into you, creating an indentation!
3. Chivas USA - Guadalajara-owned expansion team took Guadalajara's nickname, which means 'goats.' However the generic location - USA - makes it hard for Southern Californians to root for them. Goats USA? I propose they move to Las Vegas and change their name to Chivas Las Vegas. Then people will assume they're sponsored by top-shelf Scotch whiskey.
2. Columbus Crew - Their logo has always reminded of A Clockwork Orange or The Warriors, and the whole thing has an awkward feel of mid-westerners trying to act street (rather than the working-class thing I'm assuming they were going for... Their club logo just needs an Indian and a cowboy.)
1. New York Red Bulls - The unambiguous winner. What could be more horribly American than a product placement in the club name? Even if you had never heard of the energy drink, the idea of a bull that was red as a team name is lame. But it's association with taurine makes it creepy beyond redemption. Change your name, New York! If MLS gets a second NYC franchise, and it takes the awesome old fashion NY soccer club name Cosmos, how depressing will your name be in comparison?

These are just one man's opinion. I apologize if I've mocked the name of the club you support. Comments / discussion welcome. And opinions about names of other footballing teams from elsewhere also encouraged.


Brains said...

Real Salt Lake, are you on crack? That's one of the worst. Mainly because the way gringos say "Real" is unbearable. I also LOVE Dynamo because there are teams in the old Soviet Block who go by this preface. Dynamo Kiev & Dresden to name just two. Can you believe Houston embraced this?

We're in huge agreement with Columbus and New York. What were they thinking? Sure, Red Bull Salzburg was out there, but there's a tradition of naming a club after a firm in a company town, like Bayer Leverkusen. But in NY they've taken a product name, pluralized it, and made a team mascot of it. Too weird. Sell outs.



S. Sandrigon said...

I'm psyched that you dissented about Real Salt Lake. That's the best part about making lists, INFURIATING YOUR FRIENDS.

Brains said...

Great posting. I want to hear your rankings on many other MLS-related things, especially after subscribing to all those games, mundane and exciting.

I wrote Soviet b-l-o-c-k. Whatevas. Go Quakes.