USMNT: The “Yanks” Need a Nickname

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(Update: Thanks for all the commentary. Well appreciated. Keep it coming.)

(Update 2: Even more astute commentary still coming. Updated below)

(Update 3: We’ll have a follow-up piece in the next few days)

Sure, we’ve got the Yanks….but maybe that’s only because Nigeria took “the Super Eagles.” That’s a good one–man, that’s good.

T&T’s Soca Warriors, very cool.

Not what we're going for...

Not what we're going for...

Much better than “the Stars & Stripes.” (“All men starboard, we’re tacking due north! Man the jib!”)

Cue Larry Ellison. What is this the America’s Cup?

The Nats? Alluding to a pestering insect that often ends up swatted is not the imagery we want to conjure.

What should the U.S. soccer nickname be? Do we have it already with the Yanks or does that conjure up too much Ruth, Gehrig and Mantle and more importantly a game with a stick and gloves?

Vote in our poll on the right. We threw out some choices, but they’re probably way off.

We need something awe-inspiring like:

Morocco's Lions of the Atlas

Morocco's Lions of the Atlas

“La Furia Roja!” (Spain’s Red Fury!)

“The Lions of the Atlas” (Morocco) (I mean, this namesake once took on Gladiators in Rome’s Coliseum)

“The Black Stars” (Ghana)

“Maschine Mannschaft” (Germany’s “Machine Team”….is that not perfect?)

“Bafana, Bafana” (RSA’s The Boys, The Boys)…this is just fun to say.

“Blue Samurai” (Japan)

Before you write-in a choice or vote a current one, let’s examine what TSG believes the criteria should be:

1) It needs to inspire respect through tradition, simplicity or fear.

For example, the Italians are named the Azzuri after Savoy Blue, the color of the royal dynasty that in 1961 unified all of Italy. That’s cool.

2) It should really be unique.

We’re not marketers here at TSG, but here is another reason to question the current nicknames of “Yanks”. The Yanks is clearly more recognizable globally as the New York baseball team with the most championships–it would be like the NBA Olympic Team calling themselves the Celtics (bad example) or the Lakers.

3) It has to make you want to wear a t-shirt with it on it.

Here is another challenge with “Stars & Stripes”–it’s just not going to sell a lot of collateral. Put that name in some capacity on a t-shirt and you may mistake it for a Ralph Lauren polo.

In keeping with the simple guidelines above, TSG is throwing a few concepts into the ring. One note here, we really wanted to delve into history, but the Boston sports scene just about wrecked (read: owns) all the ideas we have. “The Revolution,” what a phenomenal name–sadly taken by a mid-table MLS team. Again, “The Patriots,” done! Whoops, already bestowed upon the other football team in New England.

So our cursory names were throwing into the hat:

  • The Rebels: Another reference to the American Revoluion. Sadly, the top choices of the Patriots and the Revolution as mentioned above were already assigned.  A reason to like the Rebels? Seem like the whole world and much of the U.S., including major television stations, are against the team, so it might work.

Or maybe TSG is completely offbase here; if so let us know. Confirm one of the names that already exists…hopefully it’s not the “Stars & Stripes.” I just see sailboats.

Write yours in, either in the comments or in the poll to the right and we’ll go from there and create another poll with the best answers.

Can’t we just impose a trade embargo on Nigeria or elect them to the UN Security Counsel for that Super Eagles moniker?

Updated Suggestions:

  • The Rebel Yanks (courtesy of Jason Davis)
  • The Rough Riders (courtesy of i like tuesday)
  • The Outlaws (courtesy of Dylan)
  • The Minutemen (courtesy of Berg)
  • The Revolutionaries (courtesy of Jared)
  • The Freedom Fighters (courtesy of free beer)
  • The Sons of Liberty (courtesy of Andrew)
  • The Rifleman (courtesy of Jared)
  • The Buffalo (courtesy of Jared…again)
  • The Militia (courtesy of Mark from TSG)

68 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by idk on 2009/09/15 at 4:29 AM

    How about…….COWBOYS? (jk)

    I like the “The Stars & Stripes.” Short, easy to remember, and to the point.


  2. I don’t mind “The Rattlers”, and it’s a concept I hadn’t considered before, but I might like it better if it was “The Rattlesnakes” instead.

    “The Rebels” isn’t bad.

    What about combining one of your suggestions and Yanks?

    “Rebel Yanks”?


    • Posted by Dylan on 2009/09/15 at 7:23 AM

      I like the Rebel Yanks alot.

      Maybe Rebel Yell could be the team song if they go with that name.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/15 at 7:38 AM

      Two great ideas — will add them to the piece in a bit and the poll. Thanks for contributing.


  3. Posted by Dylan on 2009/09/15 at 7:20 AM

    How about The Outlaws? Or would that take away from the group? I’m an American Outlaw and I think the name is perfect, but I don’t want to take away from the organization.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/15 at 7:41 AM

      What do the Outlaws think? I didn’t want to suggest it because you guys have built such brand equity.
      In that realm, Sam’s Army is decent as well.

      We need something though, right?


      • Posted by pckilgore on 2009/09/15 at 9:14 AM

        I’m more than fine with it. It would certainly tie the supporters group with the team, much in the way “the yanks” ties them with sams army at the moment. Imagining an entire stadium full of fans with American Flag bandanas worn outlaw style would be awesome, and imposing as hell to the other team.

        But it might get tricky because even though I’m not in sam’s army I love those guys and would hate to see something like this start some stupid turf war or something. Community is small enough as it is.


  4. Posted by Mark T on 2009/09/15 at 7:25 AM

    I grew up with my brother (Matthew) cramming the Yanks down my throat…which is why I became a Mets fan. (In hindsight that was a bad choice, much like rooting for the Jets.) I will never enjoy calling this team the Yanks nor wear any apparel with “Yanks” on it. My personal feelings aside, I agree with Matt that the name is better reserved for the NY baseball team that buys championships.

    Considering I wrote the piece the Don’t Tread On Me piece Matt linked to above, I am partial to Rattlers. And the name is available now that the Arena Football Team is defunct. Also, Rattler fits the US style of play (at least the style the USMNT plays the most). It lies in wait and then strikes when provoked…kinda like the USMNT counter-attacking offense.

    As Jason said, “Rebels” isn’t bad, but it seems a bit boring.

    And before anyone offers up Reds (e.g., Nike’s “Don’t Tread On the Reds“), the term Redcoats is widely recognized by Americans as a term for the British Army.

    Right now, I’m for Rattlers, but may throw another suggestion here shortly.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/15 at 7:40 AM

      It’s not often that one brother in the family gets both the looks and the brains.

      Rebels does seem boring.

      Also, I grew up in the great Hollywood phase of blaming the “Soviet Union” for everything, Drago, etc. etc. “Reds” is not going to work that reason, plus Liverpool owns that name outright.


  5. Gentleman, I’m honored to be inducted over in the Bill Jeffrey wing. Thank you for the props.

    I think the size and geographical diversity of our country makes this one tough. But how about the “Rough Riders”? It has the merit of being stolen from our own nation’s history but no one currently alive and following soccer will immediately think of the original context. . It says here ( on the internet, “the regiment, consisting of over 1,250 men, from all over the United States was mainly composed of cowboys, Indians, and other Wild West types, and Ivy League athletes and aristocratic sportsmen from the East.” There’s even a mixture of ethnic and class diversity! While effectively describing our style of play it will remind our fellow CONCACAF countries of our imperial ambitions over the region. It’s currently the nickname of a minor league baseball team, canadian football team, and age-group soccer club. Sounds perfect, right?

    As a said, I’ve always been keen on pronouncing USA phonetically since OOSA-OOSA-OOSA delivered in a human-beat box imitattion of a techno beat in the style of the All-Black’s Haka. Did I lose you there? It just puts the tired old You!-Ess!-Ay!, You!-Ess!-Ay!, You!-Ess!-Ay! chant to bed after it’s stayed out too late one night at a gay disco. Somehow it’s never caught on, probably because i only ever inflict it on my long-suffering wife (“You have to watch what? No, turn the football off!”). Anyone going to Costa Rica at RFK? I might have a go there.


  6. Posted by Berg on 2009/09/15 at 8:13 AM

    If we want to stick with the Revolutionary theme, “The Minutemen” could be considered.


  7. Posted by pckilgore on 2009/09/15 at 9:11 AM

    Outlaws is actually pretty bad ass. Wild Wild West Imagery.

    Can we have a new jersey contest next? Our jersey (and the corresponding tradition) sucks even more than our nickname. Seriously sometimes I don’t even recognize the old US jerseys until I can get close enough to read the names or see the crest (our crest also sucks, can we plz stick with the snake?). Argentina jersey’s? I know what those are a mile away.


    • Posted by Berg on 2009/09/15 at 12:10 PM

      Count me as someone who thought the one off’s the US wore with the 50’s style crest were nice. I love the simplicity of the crest, very cool, understated look.

      I actually don’t mind the kits the US is wearing now, they’re head and tails above the previously issued gear. Add the 50’s crest to the current shirts and I think we’re doing fine.


  8. Posted by brian on 2009/09/15 at 9:27 AM

    does anyone else think arena football league with the name rattlers and rebels


  9. I was going to suggest “Minutemen” as well… only that anti-immgration group has soured that one for me.

    “Rough Riders” is really good, but that’s also a rap group.

    Maybe just “Snakes”?

    “Outlaws”? Again great name, but already associated with the supporter group, which would be great for them if we all became Outlaws, but then just another borrowed name.

    I sound all critical right now. I’ll come up with something by the end of the day!


  10. Posted by Brian on 2009/09/15 at 10:45 AM

    can we not use a name used by something else
    like the rough riders
    didnt wutang clan use that


  11. Posted by Andrew on 2009/09/15 at 10:58 AM

    1. Sons of Liberty
    2. The Union (I guess it’s too late for this one, considering Philly’s entry into the MLS)
    3. The Doughboys (nickname for American soldiers in WW1, might not carry the intimidation factor well…)
    4. Men of Steel (What better American icon than Superman?)
    5. The Rebellion
    6. The Mohawks (Some of the Boston Tea Partiers were dressed as Mohawk Indians)

    That’s all I’ve got for now. If I come up with anything incredible throughout the day I’ll post it.


  12. Just put some of those words together like Rough Snake Rider Outlaws. Or Minute Snakemen. I could go on and on. lol


  13. What bout The Rattler Boys or The Screaming Rattlers or The Rough Rattlers or The Rattler Outlaws or The Rattlesnake Riders or The Rattlesnake Militia…


  14. Or the Stars and Bars


  15. If you end up with a snake name our signature move could be The Snake and Bake…Oh yeah, that just happened


  16. The Red and Blue Rattlers


  17. The Revolutionaries
    The Rebel Rattlers
    The Rattler Kings


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/15 at 11:36 AM

      I like Revolutionaries, but probably to close to the Revolution.

      What’s up with Boston teams taking all the patriotic names. Doesn’t Massachusetts know that they weren’t the first state, Boston was never the U.S. capital. They didn’t have the first Constitution. I mean c’mon.


  18. You could use Corps in the name like The Rattler Corps or Rattlesnake Corps or you could use Guard in the name like The Rattlesnake Guard or The Outlaw Guard


  19. What about the Rattlesnake Brigade or the Outlaw Brigade


  20. Also the Riflemen could be used


  21. Sorry to keep posting but I keep having ideas pop in my head. You could use the Buffalo as I think they are indigenous only to the US (and Canada). Buffalo Brigade, Buffalo Militia etc


  22. The Sons of Liberty


  23. Posted by Matthew N on 2009/09/15 at 12:40 PM

    I think the Yankess or Yanks is a great nickname. It has historical relevance. It is simultaneously an insult and a compliment.


  24. Posted by brian on 2009/09/15 at 2:05 PM

    the only problem i see with going the yanks
    is that most people are gonna go straight to the new york yankees


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/15 at 2:06 PM

      I completely agree — it’s a great name, but The New York Yankees are arguably the most recognized sports team (and sports logo) in the world.

      It’s a tough one.


      • Posted by Mark T on 2009/09/15 at 2:59 PM

        I am shutting down this site if “Yanks” wins the poll. There…I said it.

        Matthew can them come back with The Yanks Guardian and I’ll go root for Cameroon.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/15 at 3:01 PM

          It really hurts to be a Mets and Jets fan doesn’t it.

          How about adding some productive, championship caliber, Derek-Jeter-like commentary for a change?


  25. Posted by kaya on 2009/09/15 at 3:34 PM

    I think “The Rattlesnakes” sounds like an 8-9 yo boys’ team name. I eventually got used to a team called The Mighty Ducks, so I could get used to The Rattlesnakes, but it took me a while.
    I think of Yanks as distinct to Yankees, fwiw.
    No way to Minutemen, and Riflemen is a bit weird to me.
    Grizzlies are pretty badass and american… if now only uber north american.
    How about The Grizzles or The Liberties.


  26. Posted by Andy on 2009/09/15 at 3:51 PM

    How has nobody mentioned yet that a “rattler” is a baby’s toy? The stereotypical baby has about three things: 1. A diaper 2. A bonnet and 3. A rattler! Can we please say no to rattlers and embrace The Rough Riders along with all of the images of domination over Latin America that come with it?


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/15 at 3:55 PM

      Phenomenal commentary going on here.

      I knew TSG’s ideas were going to get killed by the populace. That’s the best part of this publication — the commentary.

      I change Rattlers to Rattlesnakes — which may be a decent name — certainly if folks get behind it.
      That being said — I love the vuvuzelas and would love a “rattler” being brought the American games at home and abroad to go with the chants and cheers.

      I’ll update the ideas again shortly. Thanks everyone.


    • Posted by Mark T on 2009/09/15 at 4:13 PM

      A bonnet…really…I thought those went the way of closed circuit TV. Wait a minute…

      I think people are voting for Rattlesnakes b/c they like the Nike snake imagery and the DTOM slogan that goes with it. It more than fulfills requirement number 3 above.


  27. Posted by Andy on 2009/09/15 at 4:03 PM

    If people weren’t so sensitive we could be The Rough Riders and just shoot our guns into the air all game. Unfortunately, my dream shall never be realized.


  28. Posted by Mark T on 2009/09/15 at 4:24 PM

    I think the problem is that so many names have been co-opted by pro and college US sports teams that you are not going find one that is perfect / pure. I imagine it is kind of like trying to name a kid and every name you pick reminds you of someone you once knew. (“We can’t go with ‘Laura’ she was that skank in high college.”)

    Rattlers – AFL team (now defunct)
    Liberty – WNBA team (though most probably don’t know that)
    Patriots – NFL team (that cheats)
    United – MLS team(This one is among my favorite)
    Revolution – MLS team
    Rough Riders – CFL team (and rap “family”)
    Grizzlies – NBA team
    Yankees – MLB team (and a ‘roided up one at that)

    What about (just) THE MILITIA?

    Not only is it representative of our underdog status on the world stage, but you already have a badass anthem by Gang Starr (with one of the sickest Primo beats). We can even try and get Nike to pay Guru enough money to re-do the lyrics.

    [warning: below video contains profanity]


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/15 at 7:40 PM

      You just didn”t go there to Gang Starr…is that Crumbsnatcha in the video…my favorite no name hip hop artist.

      If we go with the Rattlesnakes, we got the Deuce man on the mike though:

      You knew I was going to put this in Mark.


  29. Posted by kaya on 2009/09/15 at 4:32 PM

    Liberties != Liberty =)
    (albeit kinda like Yanks is not Yankees…)
    Militia… it reminds me too much of every group of right wing wackos that’s had a televised run-in with the feds.
    How about just Team America: F—- Yeah!


  30. Freedom Fighters?


  31. Posted by Dylan on 2009/09/15 at 8:21 PM

    This is more a slogan than a nickname, but how about ‘The Best Of All Worlds’ Kind of a tribute to our diversity as a country.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/15 at 8:28 PM

      C’mon Dylan — we can’t put that on a t-shirt/jersey and is our fight song going to be “We are the World”


  32. Posted by Steve on 2009/09/15 at 10:05 PM

    The Rattlers/Rattlesnakes are good — courtesy of the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag


  33. What about the Independents?


  34. Posted by boudra on 2009/09/16 at 7:14 AM

    The “independents” ? I like” the Depends” better cause you could combine it with the baby rattle gimick and all dress up like old men (which I am)


  35. I’ve only gotten about half way through the comments and Rebels seems to have struck a chord with a few people. But for the same reasons that Reds conjures historical images of the Brits or the Cold War Soviet Union, Rebels conjures up the historical images of the South during the Civil War which threatened to tear this country to pieces. Maybe I’m the only one who sees the connection because I was a Carpetbagger living in the South for a while, but just wanted to throw that out there.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/17 at 9:43 AM

      I think that’s a good point Nick — we’re going to do a follow-up shortly on the positive and negatives of names and we’ll include that note in there.

      Ironically, you could say the inverse about the Yanks in some ways (and I’m originally from NY).


  36. Posted by baquito alyeska on 2009/09/17 at 11:31 AM

    Manifest Destiny
    Amber Waves of Grain
    Purple Mountain’s Majesty
    The Robber Barons
    Home of the Brave
    The Brave and Free
    The Self-Evident Truths
    The 21st Amendment
    The Checks and Balances
    The Spiro Agnews
    The Moonshine
    Reagan’s Ray Guns
    Apollo 11
    Continental Congress
    The Wynaldas


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/17 at 11:53 AM

      Continental Congress is cool.

      Isn’t the Wynaldas the name of the Mexican reserve squad?


      • Posted by Kevin on 2009/10/28 at 3:06 PM

        To me Continental Congress sounds more like a supporter group than a nickname.

        I kinda like “The Spiro Agnews”, but that’s probably just cuz it has my last name in it. It needs to have something to do with yes… rebeling and a snake because of the historical significance. I’d like for united to be in there too, but I’m not sure how.


    • Posted by kaya on 2009/09/17 at 9:07 PM

      Actually, I like Manifest Destiny.
      I’d gone down the political/historical thought trail myself. Idk about Checks and Balances, but I thought about Tha Presidentz :)
      (Moonshine had come to mind, too)
      Once I got to Soccergate, I knew I’d headed too far off on that tangent.


      • Posted by baquito alyeska on 2009/09/18 at 4:41 AM

        hehe @ Soccergate. It’s like the Australian Socceroos without the cartoonishness. We could cheer “I am not a crook!” to protest bad calls. Waving flags with Nixon’s face would surely be intimidating.


  37. Posted by baquito alyeska on 2009/09/17 at 12:29 PM

    “The Wynaldas” is simple, harkens back to the ‘olde’ days, and instills fear in both US fans and non-US fans (fear of the unknown?) alike. It’s unique; I’d bet a whole $10 that no other team on the planet goes by “The Wynaldas”.

    Lastly, there’s virtual limitless supply of Wynalda quotes to put on the t-shirts:

    On Mexico: “Once I step on the field, I hate ’em. Nowhere is it written that I have to say I like them. That’s just the way it is.”
    On Cobi Jones, brownies, and playing at Azteca: “I once saw Cobi Jones cough up something that looked like a brownie.”
    On Jim Rome: “Jim Rome can [expletive verb] [possessive pronoun] [expletive noun]!”


  38. […] • Speaking of the Indomitable Lions, TSG is working on our follow-up to our nickname piece.  Add more commentary here. […]


  39. […] star, not just a soccer star. If all goes according to plan he’ll be a fixture up top for the Yanks Nats Stars & Stripes USMNT for years to […]


  40. Posted by Brad on 2009/10/01 at 1:54 PM

    I say we be the Snakes. Every other “national” institution usually embraces eagles, while we seem to have gone with the rattlesnake, so we’re both unique in using the snake, and also it’s something we already sort of have, so it’s not just completely made up (as, say, us becoming the Bison would be made up since we don’t go to games with flags featuring bison.) Whether we’re officially “Snakes” “Rattlers” “Rattlesnakes” or whatever is fine, but I’d like to see us as some variant of that.

    It’s also a good reference to our current playing style, the way we sit back and counter attack, much like a rattlesnake does.


  41. […] Leave a Comment And finally the long-awaited–cough, very long-awaited, follow-up to our nickname piece. If you haven’t read the first piece, it’s really a great and damn near mandatory […]


  42. […] 3: The Yanks, El Tri, Los Catrachos, Taeguk Warriors, Samurai Blue, All Whites, Chollima (Thousand Mile […]


  43. […] III and most probably the conclusion to our Series: The Yanks Need a Nickname. For those new, see Part I and Park II first if you […]


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