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There's Only One United

For now, anyway.

MLS Commish Don Garber said no expansion clubs in the near future will be able to use the name "United." (A group called St. Louis Soccer United has been leading the efforts for expansion in that city.)

"There have been a number of teams that have been interested in using the name 'United'," Garber said. "Team trademarks are owned by the league, as they are in all professional sports, and we felt that our teams should have individual identities. It's not to say there will never be another United, but for now, we are very focused on our teams creating separate, distinct identities."

As for the push in Seattle to name the club the Sounders -- something that MLS adamantly opposes -- Garber said: "The good thing about team branding is that it involves a lot of people and there are passionate views on different sides of the issue. I believe our league and the sport has come so much further than the days of the NASL. While we have the name 'Earthquakes', I am very focused in trying to have our teams look forward as opposed to look back. That's not taking away from the value of the 'Sounders' ... I think there is tremendous history there and a very passionate fan base but I am thinking about what this team is going to be 20 years from now or 50 years from now because that's how long team brand names should exist."

The club will allow fans to vote for the club name: Seattle Republic, Seattle Alliance or Seattle FC.

By Steve Goff  |  March 25, 2008; 3:12 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Comments

i don't get why they're so opposed to "sounders". if they're looking for a long-lasting brand name, then "sounders" has been around for 34 years.

Posted by: pat | March 25, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Disappointing that Emerald City FC didn't make it to the final draw. That would have been cool as heck.

Posted by: Matte | March 25, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Starbucks FC

Posted by: Jason | March 25, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

No write-in slot?

Posted by: Juan-John | March 25, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Pat, I'm sure it had something to do with money. The Sounders folks probably wanted an arm and a leg for the brand. The Seattle folks are already shelling out for the franchise.

Posted by: Matte | March 25, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

i don't get why they're so opposed to "sounders". if they're looking for a long-lasting brand name, then "sounders" has been around for 34 years.

Posted by: pat | March 25, 2008 03:35 PM

I agree. What's with the H8? Earthquakes comes from NASL. I bet if New York City ever got a club, the league would have no problem with NY Cosomos.

Posted by: Sea-at-L | March 25, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Alliance would have to be my pick of the three.

Posted by: Matte | March 25, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

There could only be one name for the Seatle franchise. Silly Gardner.

Posted by: Sounders Rule! | March 25, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Your supporters group could be The Allies.

Posted by: Matte | March 25, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Seattle Sounders is way better than the other three names - Seattle Alliance sounds like a non-profit or Star Wars

Posted by: diego r. | March 25, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Stupid on both counts. MLS needs to pull its head out of its ass. Manchester United, Newcastle United, Sheffield United...the list goes on, all with their own distinct identity. I know this is probably the wrong place to voice this opinion (a DC-related blog, in a way), but I hope MLS doesn't start worshipping its marquee clubs and bending for them (DC, LA, Houston, etc.). It's already been happening with LA, and I just wish it would stop.

There's nothing wrong with Seattle FC, but the other two are just bad, especially when you have quality names like Sounders and Emerald City FC (no stupid Mutiny or Burn or any other weak American kids' clubs names).

I hate it when the guys getting paid the big bucks to make decisions are so off track.

Posted by: Nathan | March 25, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Seattle Sounders:Bolton Wanderers::Real Salt Lake:Real Madrid

Just kidding - Shoulda stuck with Sounders. Oh well.

I'm still just scratching my head on Alliance and Republic - those are very EARLY MLS sounding IMO - but I seem to recall Drew Carey had some sort of reasoning behind those other two?

Posted by: Looking Forward | March 25, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

"Seattle Alliance" is the best option presented (and should be chosen) as it is closest to the name "United".

Does this mean, we won't be seeing the Philadelphia Atoms in 2010?

Posted by: What's in a name? | March 25, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I guess this is not encouraging news for those people who are trying to bring back the Philadelphia Atoms name:

http://www.philadelphiaatoms.com/

Posted by: tri-village | March 25, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

A pet peeve:

Shouldn't it really be "Seattle SC" (for Soccer Club) or, if they really insist on getting that "F" in there, "Seattle AFC" (for Association Football Club)? I don't know how they do things in Washington, but we don't speak the Queen's English in DC.

Posted by: Matt in Silver Spring | March 25, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

No other United, but we can have limited # of FC teams in MLS? No old NASL names, except one, Earthquakes? I get what the commish is saying, but his reasoning and explanations are a bit confusing. What's wrong with keeping the Sounders name if the fans want that and there is no USL team there? Isn't the owner os the current USL Sounders involved in the MLS Seattle franchise?

Posted by: donkeyking | March 25, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

No other United, but we can have limited # of FC teams in MLS? No old NASL names, except one, Earthquakes? I get what the commish is saying, but his reasoning and explanations are a bit confusing. What's wrong with keeping the Sounders name if the fans want that and there is no USL team there? Isn't the owner os the current USL Sounders involved in the MLS Seattle franchise?

Posted by: donkeyking | March 25, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

... now don't start that again.

Posted by: Matte | March 25, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

If they went with Seattle FC as the formal name, it wouldn't be much of a stretch for the supporters to continue to use the familiar 'Sounders'...

Posted by: JkR | March 25, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

"we are very focused on our teams creating separate, distinct identities"

You mean like Real Salt Lake? Hmmm, that's so distinct. Or Chivas USA? Yeah, never heard of a team called Chivas. Red Bull New York...oh yeah, that's distinct.

MLS has been good for the growth of soccer in the U.S. - but sometimes (well, much of the time) they make some awful decisions.

Seattle Sounders is a great name. And who cares if there's another United? I don't see any branding conflicts between Manchester, Newcastle, and West Ham. Or Sheffield, Leeds, etc, etc.

Posted by: DE | March 25, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Seattle FC is fine. The other two are boring. Would the supporters of Seattle Republic be "Republicans"? Wouldn't the press use that little play on words for their headlines? I can see it now... "Republicans lose in a landslide to the Earthquakes".

I don't think this would go over well with people from Seattle.

Posted by: Amanda | March 25, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Those names suck.

Posted by: Brendan | March 25, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Regardless of what we think about the quality or lack thereof in the Seattle name choices, why is MLS allowing them to have Seattle FC as one of the choices? By the same logic referenced in this post, wouldn't this be against league policy considering that FC Dallas is already being used as an MLS team's name?

Posted by: tmc | March 25, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Definitely oughtta be the Seattle Ferries, and I know what they can call the supporters' group.

Posted by: Matt | March 25, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

1) I had no idea they were so anti-Sounders
2) So, they want everyone to have distinct names/identities...good thing Toronto has FC. And Dallas uses FC as well. Oh, wait, that's one of the Seattle options, too?

Posted by: RK | March 25, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Definitely oughtta be the Seattle Ferries, and I know what they can call the supporters' group.

Posted by: Matt | March 25, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Boy, Seattle Republic and Seattle Alliance are dreadfuul. Kind of reminds me of when one of the final choices for the Bullets name change was the Sea Dogs. As awful as I thought that was at the time, I think the Seattle Sea Dogs is better than either of these.

Seattle FC is alright. History aside, Seattle Sounders does have a nice ring to it. Ferries would certainly provide the most entertainment.

Posted by: Kire | March 25, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Don't see why anyone would want to use "United" unless the club was in fact a union of two or more pre-existing clubs, which isn't happening in the MLS. Otherwise it's just meaningless and showy (trying to be a new ManU, Newcastle U, etc. without the history). What were the predecessors of DCU, anyway?

Posted by: Scott | March 25, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Or maybe the be

The United

lol

Posted by: Kire | March 25, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Also wondering which Spanish royal chartered the Salt Lake City club? Otherwise....

Posted by: Scott | March 25, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

If MLS was really planning for the long term, there is perhaps one of the largest soccer regions of the US that has not seemingly been considered! Sure, I like the derby matches and a Philly/DC rivalry will be CRAZY, but why isn't MLS in Atlanta? Somewhere in the state of Florida? I know that both Florida teams had a following, and MLS needs to try and draw from those markets at the centrally located Orlando. MLS needs back into the Southeast USA- youth soccer is HUGE in these suburbias like Orlando, Atlanta, and even Birmingham AL (but who wants another Columbus Crew?). Salt Lake is a waste of time, and KC is lucky there's no St. Louis team.

Posted by: Wasting Time | March 25, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Agree with Brendan, who put it most succinctly regarding names for a Seattle MLS club. What if the fans all vote No, No and No?

Posted by: BaltoFan | March 25, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

"Stupid on both counts. MLS needs to pull its head out of its ass. Manchester United, Newcastle United, Sheffield United...the list goes on, all with their own distinct identity."

Yeah, but MLS teams lack nicknames like the Red Devils that help make that distinction. Unless we're the Talons?

Posted by: Glaucon | March 25, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Republic only makes sense to me if the area was once sovereign, like CA being the Bear Flag Republic.

I think Alliance is the least bad idea of the three. I can't believe the FC
business is going to draw new fans to MLS.

Posted by: gringo | March 25, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Merge Chivas USA with Real Salt Lake: Chivas Regal! They could play in Glasgow as their name is much more Scottish than Celtic.

Posted by: Drunkard | March 25, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Don't see why anyone would want to use "United" unless the club was in fact a union of two or more pre-existing clubs, which isn't happening in the MLS. Otherwise it's just meaningless and showy (trying to be a new ManU, Newcastle U, etc. without the history). What were the predecessors of DCU, anyway?

Posted by: Scott | March 25, 2008 04:53 PM

OK, smart pants, what is the predecessor of Man U. What are the two or more teams that made them united. Answer: none. The club was born Newton Heath L&YR and when John Henry Davies became the club president in 1902, the new owners renamed the club Manchester United Football Club, after considering the alternate names "Manchester Celtic" and "Manchester Central".

You could do some research before you post such a smarty smarty post and get put in your place.

Posted by: Know before you Post | March 25, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

The name is probably the least important thing right now. We're all overreacting. At the end of the day, we wouldn't care if DC United was called DC Republic or DC Alliance. I mean, "Barra Brava," "Screaming Eagles," "La Norte," etc. don't mention "United" in their name. They are based on other facets of the club. So at the end of the day, it's not all that important if Seattle ends up with a stupid name. The fans can call them Sounders, the reporters can call them "Alliance" or "Republic" or whatever, and the rest of us can just call them "Seattle."

Posted by: Catherine-Lucia | March 25, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Matte-

Seattle is part-owned by Adrian Hanauer, who owns the Seattle Sounders. The rights to the name would cost them nothing if MLS would let them have it.

Scott-

I believe your points are all being argued back in the late 90's and in late 2004, respectively.

Wasting Time-

"Why isn't MLS in Atlanta?" No stadium, no ownership group, no grassroots push a la Philly. Both teams in Florida had a following, but both were far too small. Orlando has no stadium, no ownership group, and will absolutely not draw from Tampa (an hour drive) or Miami/Ft. Lauderdale (a 3+ hour drive). I'm not sure how Salt Lake is a "waste of time", when they get good, enthusiastic attendance and will be playing in their own stadium soon (something that the two southeastern MLS teams failed to accomplish when they had teams).

On Seattle's potential names:

All three suck. There are already enough FCs (especially considering that none of them play the game we all call football here), Alliance sounds like a youth club, and Republic sounds more like a newspaper than a team. This is the first mistake for an ownership group that, I thought, had their heads on straight.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | March 25, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Don't see why anyone would want to use "United" unless the club was in fact a union of two or more pre-existing clubs, which isn't happening in the MLS. Otherwise it's just meaningless and showy (trying to be a new ManU, Newcastle U, etc. without the history). What were the predecessors of DCU, anyway?

Posted by: Scott | March 25, 2008 04:53 PM

Hate to break it to you, but many clubs called "United" were formed without two or more clubs merging together. Manchester United, West Ham United, and Leeds United, to name a few. Here's a brief history of ManU: In 1878 a team composed of Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway employees began playing at Newton Heath (a district of Manchester); the club originally was known as Newton Heath L&YR F.C. and was saved from bankruptcy in 1902 when they received a large investment from the managing director of Manchester Breweries; the club considered the names Manchester Celtic and Manchester Central before settling on United. Other clubs named United were formed after several clubs had folded previously and the succesful one to emerge honored the history of those that failed. In that light, Seattle United makes much more sense than DC United. But I feel like the league is simply caving to the DC owner's wishes in this case and then using a very poor excuse. If each club is to have it's own identity how can Seattle vote for FC when there is already two others but can't vote for United when there's only one of those?

Posted by: kaged27 | March 25, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I still think it should be the Seattle Sasquatch Geoduck Vulcan Wranglers Athletico 09....or:
Sporting I-5 was cool.
Athletico I-90
Seatown Ballaz.
or China Town Massacre would be cool.
Dearborn Diesal.

Posted by: BigMadDadRyan | March 25, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

United is already taken so they should call themselves the Steagles.

It was either due to the depression or WWII but the NFL Steelers and Eagles merged together for a season or two.

Posted by: garbaggio | March 25, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

I still like (Democratic) Republic Alliance of Seattle Sounders FC...

:)

Posted by: SportzNut21 | March 25, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I have no problem with no more "United" anytime soon especially since this a single league and there isn't reason for multiple teams using the same name. City FC doesn't need to be the name of every team, but those Seattle names suck.

Posted by: sitruc | March 25, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

why do they continually do that what should not be done??

Posted by: grumpy | March 25, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Those are all terrible names.

Almost as bad as Justice, Force, or Spies.

Posted by: Engelbert Humperdinck | March 25, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

I think Seattle was the site of the first general strike in American history, so how about....wait for it.... Seattle Strikers.

Logo could be some hard*ss dockworker/striker done up in Soviet Realist style.

Yeah boyeeeee!

Posted by: edgeonyou | March 25, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

NYC and Florida?

NY Cosmos.
TB Rowdies.

Or, if you're from the Anaheim School of Team Nomenclature,

"Rowdies SC of Tampa Bay" and "Cosmos of New York."

Posted by: Expansion? | March 25, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

The poll includes a write in option, so fans of the Sounders name can still vote to retain it. I would personaly be happy with the Sounders being either the official name, or an unofficial nickname for Seattle FC.

http://www.mlsinseattle.com/uploadedFiles/Home/Vote/vote.html

Posted by: David | March 25, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Didn't DC become United via a write-in vote over "Justice", "Spies" and... I can't remember option #3. (But I'm kind amazed that I remember 2 of them.)

I like FC with the nickname Sounders... nice idea.

Posted by: rpm7k | March 25, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

King County? Like Notts County. King County is an already well known brand name, in part because of the Kingdome. Traditional, like DC United, but scads more people call DC "DC" like the locals do because of the team.

Posted by: Doc Woo | March 25, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Why should a new franchise in a different league be called the Sounders? I could understand it if the team was being promoted but it's not.

MLS in Seattle needs its own history and the Sounders moniker is just excess baggage.

Posted by: Gary B | March 25, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Emerald City Seaman

Posted by: Lord Batu | March 25, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Goff says: "The club will allow fans to vote for the club name: Seattle Republic, Seattle Alliance or Seattle FC."

There will also indeed be a "write-in" option once voting starts on Thursday the 27th. It's one vote, one e-mail address too.

So, in the spirit of Chicago elections, may I suggest a little judicious ballot stuffing, and recommend that everyone go to that site, click on the "write-in" link, and vote for "Seattle Sounders"!

Remember, vote early and often...


Posted by: SportzNut21 | March 25, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Gary B asked why a different team in a different league would want the name Sounders:

1. MLS Seattle will almost certainly have some of the same players as the Sounders, possibily the same coach, and definitely the same GM. (The fact is, the current Sounders team could probably finish ahead of RSL or Colorado in the standings).

2. It's been done before: San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Angels were old PCL teams, before they became MLB expansion franchises. Same with the Texas Rangers (there was a AA team in Dallas with that name, before MLB). The same is true of the NHL Vancouver Canucks (that was once a WHL team).

Posted by: Garber's Folly | March 25, 2008 11:47 PM | Report abuse

They're just presenting those horrid options because they've already decided that Qwest just isn't a viable option, and after 2-3 years they'll move to Portland and become the Timbers.

Oh, and nobody says "I'm going to the DC match." We say "I'm going to the United match" regardless of DC United's constant reminders that the club is to be referred to as "DC United" or "United" and not "the United" in all Press Releases.

An actual club based in NYC is far more likely to be known as the Mets or Metropolitan FC etc over "Cosmos" as the owners of the Mets have expressed a strong interest in the rights to a franchise. MLS should avoid the Cosmos name at all costs.

Posted by: AlecW81 | March 26, 2008 2:10 AM | Report abuse

Seattle Chiefs or Seattle Kings. The other ones suck. Hard.

BTW, were those three names suggested for United real??? Please, God, tell me you made those up.

Posted by: grotus | March 26, 2008 7:51 AM | Report abuse

I always liked Justice -- to replace Bullets, so that they could've played on the Supreme Court.

Posted by: RK | March 26, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

@Posted by: Nathan | March 25, 2008 03:45 PM
110% agree with you about the 'united' thing. It absolutely absurd for Garber to steer clubs away from that.
He obviously doesn't understand what 'united' means in a clubs name.
Hell, they allowed 9 teams to be [[city name]]FC but won't allow another United? Stupid.

Posted by: papa bear | March 26, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Write in for Seattle Sounders is the only option. And those of us in other places should vote for this reason alone. I'm a fan of the Sounders name, therefore my vote should count, whether I'm in Columbus Ohio or Timbuktu.

Posted by: gary | March 26, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Sounders 2.0

Posted by: moldygreg | March 26, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

The term "Sounders" has long been associated with pro soccer in Seattle, but not with anything more specific. Thus, it wouldn't create any particular expectation as to what a new team with that name would be like. By contrast, the term "Cosmos" is associated not just with pro soccer in New York, but with a specific club that was so distinctive in so many ways that it was the subject of a highly acclaimed documentary that was shown in theaters in many cities, and later aired repeatedly on BSPN, a couple of years ago. If any new team in the Big Apple (or anywhere else) were to use the name "Cosmos", it might create expectations that the club would resemble the earlier version, wild parties and all.

Posted by: tri-village | March 26, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Don't see why anyone would want to use "United" unless the club was in fact a union of two or more pre-existing clubs, which isn't happening in the MLS. Otherwise it's just meaningless and showy (trying to be a new ManU, Newcastle U, etc. without the history). What were the predecessors of DCU, anyway?

Posted by: Scott


Because in St. Louis' case the name actually works. The St. Louis Metro area consists of Eastern Missouri and South Western Illinois separated by the Mississippi River. The team would need to "unite" the two regions to be successful. - It's more than appropriate in the St. Louis case. Plus, without multiples, those "There's only one United" chants are meaningless. ;)

Posted by: Sport Billy | March 27, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I went to games in seattle in the past...actually saw the NY cosmos and the sounders play. It is a long lasting brand in the pNW and should remain. Many people here say screw the MLS if they steal the team's culture and history. The fervor was created by the prospect of moving up...especially after kicking some MLS ass in the cup last year and winning the USl title again. The Seattle Sounders have the brand recognition and have the successful team to make a move into the top half of the existing clubs quickly. I would rather support that then some lame mls start up without a history or reason to buy expensive tickets and gear.

Posted by: sknmrowley | March 30, 2008 1:09 AM | Report abuse

I went to games in seattle in the past...actually saw the NY cosmos and the sounders play. It is a long lasting brand in the pNW and should remain. Many people here say screw the MLS if they steal the team's culture and history. The fervor was created by the prospect of moving up...especially after kicking some MLS ass in the cup last year and winning the USl title again. The Seattle Sounders have the brand recognition and have the successful team to make a move into the top half of the existing clubs quickly. I would rather support that then some lame mls start up without a history or reason to buy expensive tickets and gear.

Posted by: sknmrowley | March 30, 2008 1:12 AM | Report abuse

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