Monday, Mar. 28, 2011

The Kansas City Wizards to Sporting Kansas City

You can't fault Major League Soccer for trying. The U.S.'s best league playing the global game lags behind a host of other sports and competitions in popularity, so some within the MLS have concluded that it's best to cut their losses — glossy gimmicks to non-soccer fans — and, instead, develop a more passionate soccer base. Part of this involves adopting team names that are more similar to European clubs. Rather than having some awkward, tacky noun in plural, like "Penguins" or "Red Sox," Toronto's new team decided to call itself Toronto F.C. — the "F.C." an addendum common elsewhere in the world signifying "football club." The new team in Salt Lake City chose to follow the lead of a few Spanish sides and dubbed itself Real Salt Lake — the Real signifying "royal," a monicker signifying patronage from the Spanish monarchy, something very unlikely to have been extended to the MLS. To keep in vogue, Kansas City's existing Kansas City Wizards, a name that sat well with the denizens of Dorothy's state, renamed the team this year Sporting Kansas City. Fans aren't happy. Sporting is a phrase that precedes soccer teams in Iberia and Latin America, but in the U.S. that may be a step to far — franchises are nouns, not adjectives!