Naming MLS Atlanta
Naming MLS Atlanta
- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On January 2, 2015
Right now the year 2017 seems like ages away. When LAFC and Atlanta enter Major League Soccer as the 21st and 22nd clubs, the league will once again evolve. Atlanta’s expansion partner in California technically has a name right now but what will the Georgia capital call themselves?
The future club’s supporters group is already on the case for finding a name. Thankfully they have decided to not include FC/SC or the famed Phoenix name be included right now.
In alphabetical order:
Bantams are small chickens noted for their aggressive nature. This would allow the team to embrace a scrappy, tenacious form of play. Chicken images could be interesting especially in an aggressive stance. In contrast, it would be natural for the opposition to call us cocks or chickens. Bantamweight is one of the lower weight classes in boxing and referencing a cock-fighting breed may not be widely accepted.
Hart is the Old English word for a stag or a deer. The southeast is known for having a large deer population, and it is not uncommon to see them in Metro Atlanta. We added the color Black to match the black color of the team and to allude to the cold-hearted attack of the victors. The downside to this name is that few will know the reference, might consider it misspelled and that no deer are actually black. Neutral, but an interesting fact, the EPL side Spurs home field is called White Hart Lane.
Georgia is known (unofficially) as the Empire State of the South, which is meant to represent the desire to be the leaders in industrial and economic development in the Southeast. As it refers to an MLS team, the name Atlanta Empire would symbolize the aspirations our team has to be at the top of the league. It could also represent the breadth of the Atlanta team’s fanbase, as we already have fans in Alabama, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, and Tennessee. A downside to this name could be that it may be confused with the official state nickname of New York (the Empire State).
While many of us completely dread even the slightest chance of being called the Phoenix, a description of a phoenix could work, in the name Firebirds. Perhaps even the Fire Birds. The imagery could be outstanding and it would reference the Atlanta seal. The association with the defunct Pontiac car could provide a negative unless we as a supporters group completely embraced it. The name doesn’t inspire a lot of passionate responses that we have heard and seems almost a “safe default.”
In addition to superiority, the Kings name would bring incredible heraldic imagery with crowns, scrolls, and a legitimate reason to have a shield shape. It would also bring a nice nod to Atlanta’s civil rights history. The name would have exactly zero chance of being misunderstood. The downside is that there is already an NHL and an NBA team with the name, so it wouldn’t be distinctive in sports, though it would within MLS. The connection with the MLK family would need to be carefully managed as well.
Atlanta was founded as Terminus, the end of the line of the Western and Atlantic Railroad, which connected Savannah to the Midwest. Atlanta was the railroad hub for the South during the Antebellum era. Locomotives would allow for a strong train theme appearance and celebrations. Downside is that not many may know this bit of Atlanta history as the city is known much more currently as an airline hub.
The railroad history of Atlanta is distinctive and strong. A team name in conjunction with those rails would really tie into the city. The railrunner is an intermodal system that converts truck trailers for rail use for cheaper shipping. It also is used for work trucks so that they can do maintenance on the rails. There have been various other versions of this name, Railmen, Railers, Railbirds, Railspikers, etc. Voting for this name is a vote for us to explore this name further. Unfortunately this name would be associated with Carolina’s NASL team and may be interpreted as a little too minor league.
The beauty of this name is two-fold. First, it is not a common word, so much so that Chrome spell-check underlines it, but it is still immediately understandable. So we could own the name but wouldn’t need to explain it. Secondly, the meaning is perfect. A version of Atlanta’s Latin motto “Resurgens,” the team name would mean those who rise again. Over losses on the field or personal. Over the stigma of Atlanta as a sports town. Over the doubters of soccer as an American sport. The shortened ‘Gents presents a wonderful set of chants and cheers. On the negative, it might sound a little awkward to those uninitiated, and could perhaps need explained to a few unfamiliar.
None of these names are official yet either. That should be noted. I do like the idea of the Atlanta Black Harts as a name. Something tells me it will end up being bird related.