Follow-up: Yanks, Rough Riders, the Militia?

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 starter for this second piece. Read the commentary afterward from TSG readers — it’s pretty hysterical.



Quite a few nicknames out there to frustrate Her Majesty

First, thanks to all of you that contributed such well thought out and meritorious commentary in Part I of “let’s not root for Steinbrenner’s team.” (Note, I am a Yanks’ baseball fan by the way. Gosh, it’s already confusing.)

Your rooting passion was evident and by the volume and quality of the responses we know we struck a chord on a “need” for the USMNT that does not involve the striker position.

So here’s how we’ll break it down. We’re going to contribute a number of the responses below with as much depth and possible. We will add background on the selections and we will ask TSG readers to contribute to the mix so we can create the most knowledgeable bios to accompany the names for selection.

Then we’ll put up a poll on the right sidebar after we’ve chosen a few “finalists”….like The Bloodsuckers. Kidding.

Finally, we promise to put together a brief and send it to the USSF to see if there is a response of any kind. While this piece is tongue-and-cheek, we’re going to pursue it to its fullest.

Here’s our first tier of nicknames that deserved “a deeper look”:

  • The Buffalo (courtesy of Jared)
  • The Freedom Fighters (courtesy of Free Beer Movement)
  • The Militia (courtesy of Mark from TSG)
  • The Outlaws (courtesy of Dylan)
  • The Rattlesnakes/Rattlers (courtesy of Matt from TSG)
  • The Revolutionaries (courtesy of Jared)
  • The Rough Riders (courtesy of “Tuesday”)
  • The Sons of Liberty (courtesy of Andrew)

Here’s our second tier of nicknames that we want to keep in the mix, but we weren’t sure demanded a “brief.” If you are so inclined, please email with a cover page and footnotes if you want to make a case:

  • The Rebel Yanks (courtesy of Jason Davis) — a little too close to tonight’s World Series representative from the American League.
  • The Rifleman (courtesy of Jared) — Note, you’re going to probably have to fight the NRA on this one….and they have guns…thank you, thank you……thank you!
  • The Minutemen (courtesy of Berg) — Hmm, a little bit of a not nice man innuendo here.

Note, most definitions within the “Summary” sections below come from Wikipedia.

Okay, let’s steel-cage-it:


The Buffalo (or more appropriately “American Bison”)

Promoter: Jared

Summary: Straight out of the ‘pedia: The American Bison (Bison bison–what does that mean?) is a North American species of bison, also commonly known as the American Buffalo. “Buffalo” is somewhat of a misnomer for this animal, as it is only distantly related to either of the two “true buffaloes”, the Asian Water Buffalo and the African Buffalo. However, “bison” is a Greek word meaning ox-like animal, while “buffalo” originated with the French fur trappers who called these massive beasts boeufs, meaning ox or bullock.


I, too, can counterattack.


The American Bison is native only to the United Sta….wait a minute, the ‘pedia says Canada too? Not so positive….

Isn’t that just a face and animal you love?


Buffalo while strong and team-oriented animals do not connote, uh, “counterattack,” or Landon Donovan’s profile.

Since the USMNT plays in the CONCACAF, most games are in warm climates. Try wearing a thick, burly buffalo outfit/costume in Mexico City–not to mention how mangy it will become after beer is spilled all over it. Yeah, it’s a good chance you’re not making it back through customs with that smelly carcass.

Possible confusion that the nickname refers to Toronto Jr. in upstate NY, home of the barrel dropping waterfalls (and to four losing Super Bowl teams during my childhood.)

What the hell is a “Bison Bison?”

TSG 2 Cents: In hindsight, the Buffalo conjures up football, American football. Have opinions otherwise? Share ’em below.


The Freedom Fighters

Promoter: Free Beer Movement

Summary: Freedom fighter is another term for those engaged in a struggle to achieve political freedom for themselves or obtain freedom for others. Generally speaking, freedom fighters are seen as people who are using physical force in order to cause a change in the political and or social order. Note, those involved in peaceful means to achieve political freedom are typically called political activists as oppose to freedom fighters.


In terms of the definition of obtaining freedom for others, you could argue the message is a big positive from a U.S. political message standpoint.


Conversely (to the positive) you could suggest it means Vietnam?

The old IRA and (tread lightly) Al Qaeda are commonly labeled freedom fighters. YIKES!

The High Times Freedom Fighers are a marijuana legalization group. I’m endearing myself to soccer moms by making this a negative. (Everything was just wrong with that statement. Here, just buy the t-shirt.)

Neutral, I think:


USMNT Superfan

There is the United States Freedom Fighters group that I cannot find any information on with the exception of this guy on the right who is some sort of member. I’m not saying this is positive or negative. I’m just saying….I don’t know what I’m say. It bears considering.

TSG 2 Cents: We like the motorcycle-beard get-up, but we need more.


The Militia

Promoter: Mark from TSG

Summary: The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. Well, that sounds exactly like the defense in front of Timmy Howard during the Confederation’s Cup.


From Mark, TSG:

“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.”


Many countries around the globe won’t like the idea that the “United States Militia will be in town to beat the home side on Thursday.” I’m just saying.

TSG 2 Cents: Perhaps a little bit too, hmm, military-oriented and it’s also my brother’s suggestion–my brother is a Jets and Mets fan I mean, c’mon. Nope, not feeling it.


The Outlaws

Promoter: Dylan

Summary: One who is outside the law. Hmm….I thought the USMNT just stopped getting a red card a game. This is not starting off on the right foot.


From Patrick, by way of Part I:

“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.”


You’ve got 8 sports teams of varying ilk in the United States with that moniker.

You’ve got one very major and influential USMNT fan support group that rallied up some serious currency around that name.

TSG 2 Cents: This one goes to the Donahoo brothers, Justin Brunken, Justin Coughlan and company….you’ve earned it.

(AO photo courtesy of Trent at


I mean, these guys just say "Outlaws"


The Rattlesnakes

Promoter: Matthew from TSG

Summary: We’ve already got the emblem and the slogan. Beyond that, the species is indigenous to the United States and the snake was a major symbol of the American Revolution.


Unlike the Buffalo–and no disrespect to the Great Plain’s beast–rattlesnakes are capable of quick counterattacks.

We’ve got the whole Don’t Tread on Me thing and the Deuce video. That’s a go.


You have a defunct Arena football team with the name “Rattlers” — in other words, the names been tarnished a bit.

Um, not good according to TSG reader Kaya:

“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.”

Or TSG reader Andy:

“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”

TSG 2 Cents: A lot of positive; a lot of negative. I must excuse myself from the proceedings on this one (since I suggested the name. Hi, I’m Matthew by the way.)


The Revolutionaries

Promoter: Jared

Summary: The Revolutionaries obviously refers to the movement for independence of the United States via the Declaration of Independence and then the war against the British.


Just think of the cheers when we kick Capello’s troops in the teeth in World Cup 2010. I can see fans chanting: “17….76….”


Perhaps a little bit too close to the MLS team the New England Revolution. In fact, “Revolution” would have been as good or better a nickname. Can’t the national team just commandeer the name? Doesn’t Federal supersede State in this case?

TSG 2 Cents: Look Boston, you’ve got the Patriots (and oddly “the Celtics” and some type of bears) and the Revolution. In the good name of Jay Heaps, can you please relinquish this quality nickname for the good of US soccer fans everywhere?



I think I can get behind these guys....

The Rough Riders

Promoter: “Tuesday”

Summary: The Rough Riders 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. Wow!

Also, the name bestowed on the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, one of three such regiments raised in 1898 for the Spanish-American War and the only one of the three to see action


“A mixture of ethnic and class diversity,” says “‘Tuesday.”

From TSG reader Andy:

“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.”


The Rough Riders did battle in Cuba. Aren’t we trying to improve relations with that country?

It’s the name of a football team. A Canadian football team. Oh boy, that knocks it down like 479 pegs.

TSG 2 Cents: As a good friend of mine says about crab cakes, “what’s not to like?”

References an army of men from a diverse background grouped together to achieve an objective. Can you see Bob Bradley sporting Target sweatpants and a big Stetson? Now we’ve convinced you.


The Sons of Liberty/The Liberty Boys

Promoter: Andrew

Summary: The Sons of Liberty was a secret organization of American patriots which originated in the 13 colonies during the American Revolution. British authorities and their supporters, known as Loyalists, considered the Sons of Liberty as seditious, referring to them as “Sons of Violence” and “Sons of Iniquity.” Patriots attacked the apparatus and symbols of British authority, including Wayne Rooney and John Terry (just seeing if you are paying attention).


Well, it’s got the word, “Sons” in it. So we know we’re not referring to Mia Hamm or Abby Wambach.

References the American Revolution and patriotism — bueno! I mean good.


This flag ain't..."flying"

The Sons of Liberty quote “attacked the symbols of authority and power” — that belongs on a banner in the American Outlaws fan section.

Has a pretty decent sub-nickname of “Liberty Boys” — that’s pretty darn good. When they play at a stadium near you, then you could say you are going to watch the “Liberty Boys in the Hood.” (I’ll just shut up now.)

Played a major part in the Boston Tea Party following the lead of Sam Adams. So let me get this straight, they destroyed tea in favor of beer. Uh, check.


The “Sons of Liberty” flag is a bit of a reach. Ain’t no way we’re being called the Candy Canes, Pinstripers, or Sunderland F.C. Jr.

TSG 2 Cents: Lose the flag and you’ve got a shot. It’s a really good mix of rebellion and patriotism wrapped into one (or even two) nicknames. Yup, we like it.


So have at it in the commentary. Fill in the blanks on the positive and negatives we’ve missed.

And thank you in advance for your contributions.

Oh, and for my final two cents, I’m fine with a bunch of the names: Rough Riders, Sons of Liberty/Liberty Boys, Rattlesnakes and Revolutionaries.

Any of these are better to me than the Yanks or Stars & Stripes. I want to buy some gear.

52 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/10/28 at 2:57 AM

    A few things after posting:

    1) I really like the flexibility and possibilities with the Sons of Liberty and it’s synonyms like Liberty Boys (which is a great name in and of itself)

    2) After watching the video for Guru’s “The Militia” — I’ve got goosebumps thinking about the US warming up to that at the World Cup.

    Carry on…..


    • Posted by pckilgore on 2009/10/28 at 7:38 AM

      Besides, “GOOOOOLLLL Looooos hijooooos de libertaaaaaaaaad” would just sound cool coming out of any Spanish speaking announcer.


  2. Freedom = opened up, flowing soccer. That’s what we’re fighting for!

    Too much of a stretch?


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/10/28 at 3:49 AM

      I would think that the Free Beer Movement would want to get behind Sons of Liberty and Sam Adams at this point, not “High” Times?


      • Yeah you’re probably right, but I’ve suggested Freedom Fighters and now I’ve gotta fight for it. But whatever the people support the Free Beer Movement will as well.

        Beer tie ins are welcome of course!


  3. PS When’s a poll going up so my minions can vote in Freedom Fighters?


  4. Posted by Andy on 2009/10/28 at 6:09 AM

    *framing my quotes for the office wall*


  5. I think the most interesting thing that will come of all of this, if the USSF were to go ahead and agree with us that we need to make the change, is we’ll finally find out if John Harkes is in the pocket of the USSF. I can’t for the life of me see him uttering any of the nicknames described above of his own accord, but he would if the USSF was telling him to. I digress…

    I’m not sure how AO feels about us using the Outlaws for the national team’s nickname, but it seems like it would be some great synergy for them. Or conversely it would remove some of their cool factor. Part of the reason the American Outlaws is such an awesome name for the organization is down to the fact that our nicknames for the team itself are so whitebread (hey, what about calling them the Wonderbreads. We have been going with the all white kit quite frequently of late…)

    From a marketing and t-shirt wearing standpoint, the Rattlesnakes takes the cake with the DTOM logo that Nike has already concocted, in fact I own one of those t-shirts with just the snake and ball on it and am saddened that I can’t get another unless I make my own….From the name and meaning behind it I’m a fan of The Sons of Liberty/The Liberty Boys (sorry FBM), but what would that t-shirt look like? Or would we just start grabbing all of the revolutionary war images we could (Join, Or Die, etc.)?

    As I mentioned above, the only negatives that I can find with any of the names is that it would sound awkward hearing a commentator using them, for awhile a least.


    • I just had a tongue-in-cheek thought that will most likely destroy my credability:

      We could put three rattlesnakes on our new badge, and call ourselves the Three Rattlers, kind of like the Three Lions….


  6. Posted by Mark T on 2009/10/28 at 6:28 AM

    Mark’s Two Cents

    Pro – Good analogy to Connor Casey’s “break-away” speed…we’d have an official food (buffalo wings)
    Con – Were just about slaughtered to extinction…now raised to be slaughtered for meet

    The Freedom Fighters
    Pro – See Free Beer Movement’s comment above
    Con – More appropriate for the 8 years of the Bush presidency

    The Militia
    Pro – Simple…I stand by the Gang Starr clip (one of my all-time favorite tracks)
    Con – Too many corny headlines available to idiot writers should they lose

    The Outlaws
    Pro – Fits in the sense that soccer is outside of the mainstream of American sports
    Con – Seems only fitting for “upstart nation” status, but not as good for when the USMNT is a perennial powerhouse

    The Rattlers
    Pro – We may get back those sweet DTOM jerseys (note, I got outbid for one recently on ebay and was devastated)
    Con – Annoying hissing sound that could become standard during games

    The Revolutionaries
    Pro – Strong historic tie
    Con – Doesn’t accurately reflect the US game…at all

    The Rough Riders
    Pro – Good alliteration
    Con – Can’t see Lando looking into a camera and saying “I’m a rough rider!”

    The Sons of Liberty
    Pro – Good connection to fans (re: sons)…plays up the patriotic angle
    Con – Would be shortened to “Liberty” which is a (gulp) WNBA team or “SOL”, and you know what that means

    (Aside, yes I still write for TSG, but thankfully Matthew has been able to pick up the slack as I criss-cross the country for work. Thanks, bro!)


    • I’ve fallen out of love with the Rough Riders. Maybe shortening to just “the Riders”. Or how about “The Military-Industrial Complex”, or just “the Complex” for short. It sounds like we’d have a shot against some Millwall fans down on the Old Kent Road, unlike most of the others which sound like the names of a Village People tribute band. I could definitely see Landon getting on board with “the Complex”.


  7. Posted by Matt B on 2009/10/28 at 8:18 AM

    I have to say that out of these options I like Sons of Liberty/Liberty boys the best. This nickname could easily allow the incorporation of the snake logo, which is by far the coolest aspect of the Rattlesnakes idea. Also, I know it is a bit late to be adding new ideas, but what about “Gringos”? That is what half our opponents refer to us as anyways. Imagine how pissed they would be if we co-opted their slur for us and used it as our nickname. Sort of like how we took on Yankees from the British during the revolution.


    • Posted by Berg on 2009/10/28 at 9:05 AM

      It seems I’m with the majority here. I think Sons of Liberty/Liberty Boys would work quite well, although part of me still likes the “Rough Riders” name as well. It just feels like they get the point across without seeming forced. And as Matt B points out, it doesn’t necessarily preclude the US from still using the rattlesnake as a symbol for the team.

      The idea of adopting Gringos into the name made me chuckle, but as you’ve pointed out it’s been done before with Yankees. Also with Tottenham Hotspur too I guess, embracing the anti-semitic slurs that used to get hurled at them and turning it into a badge of honour of sorts.

      When/If it happens, put me down for a Sons of Liberty shirt.


  8. Posted by pckilgore on 2009/10/28 at 9:08 AM

    I like “the sons of liberty” but for shits and giggles, will try to break down what a good nickname is and see if it doesn’t help me/others brainstorm.

    (1) Effective or catchy shortenings of a real name
    EX: Patriots shortens to Pats.
    Generally these tend to be very obvious, but simply cannot be forced if they are not obvious. Since neither USA, America, or United States shortens easily, we’re SOL here.

    (2) The mildly abstract (Colors / Symbols)
    EX: Italy -> Azules
    In this case, we can either be the Reds (taken, maybe racist), Whites (yeah, no), or Blues (See, NHL and see also, Italy). From our jerseys, we could try the Grays – but see the original post for my quoted feelings about our jerseys in general. Symbol wise, we could be the stars or the stripes? We could also be the eagles. However stars are taken, eagles are taken. Stripes could work or maybe even ‘stripes (implying the stars, without saying it, see (1) ). I actually think [color/adjective] stripes would work very well, but again, I think this would need to be based off a better, more consistent jersey design. “The thin stripes” doesn’t exactly sound cool. The white stripes are, for obvious reasons, out.

    (3) Purely abstract (Ideas/actions and personifications thereof)
    EX: Liberty, freedom, fairness, ect.
    I don’t think we can do much with this without sounding trite, preachy, or stupid. For example, St. Louis’ female pro team is the Athletica. WTF is that, seriously. For fairness say, lets suggest a few:

    (4) History
    EX: England -> The three lions.
    This is pretty much the focus of almost all nicknames above. A few more historical suggestions from more than just revolutionary history. This is a brainstorm, trying not to run the filter too much.

    US XII Corps, Second division nickname: White Stars
    US 1 Armored Nick: Old Ironsides
    US 8 Armored: Thundering Herd
    5th Infantry: Red Devils (uhh, yeah probably no too)
    45th infantry: Thunderbirds
    101st Airborne: Screaming Eagles (Awesome!)
    Third Battalion, 16th field artillery: Rolling Thunder
    Also: The G.I.s (WWII)
    Sammies – A WWI nickname the French had for US soldiers.
    Doughboys – Another continental nickname for American soldiers (Pilsbury?, no thanks)

    ***National Figures***
    National Bird: American (Bald) Eagle, so American Eagles, Bald Eagles(OK for clothes, not for a team…?)
    Tree: Oak (Oaks?)
    Flower: Rose (Roses?….and you think we have an image problem already)

    (5) Mascots
    EX: Uncle Sam
    Concrete representations of our country/team. See buffalo, eagles, revolutionaries, outlaws, ect.
    My one major addition to this category would be Pioneers, which represent a very important period of westward expansion in American History.

    I’m out of (ideas/energy/excuses for not working) for now, but any other suggestions/categories I missed?


    • Posted by pckilgore on 2009/10/28 at 9:11 AM

      Quick idea:
      The Thirteen
      (tribute to the thirteen colonies)


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/10/28 at 9:55 AM

        ….also as in we’d like to have 13 people on the pitch….ruminating on this….


    • Pronoucing USA phonetically is clearly the answer. We tried at RFK vs. Costa Rica but mostly people looked at us like we were insane for ruining their well worked U-S-A-U-S-A-U-S-A-U-S-A chant. Anyone watch the All-Blacks do the Haka before a rugby match? Oooh-sah, Oooh-sah, Oooh-sah! Has a similar effect. Can please get a phonetically pronounced OOOh-SAH! No? Alright.

      As for nicknames, I think we’re stuck with the Yanks which even as a Boston Red Sox fan I can differentiate from “The Yankees”, who clearly suck. We just need to all shout “Come on you Yanks!” until it feels more natural. For years American football fans have worked hard to over-complicate our football songs which really need to be simple enough so anyone can catch on and sing along and sung to tunes that everyone in this country knows – like McDonalds jingles.

      “Oooh, oooh, oooh, We’re Luvin it!” becomes “U, S, A, We’re Luvin it!” And suddenly we’ve accessed the part of the brain cultivated by years of subliminal messaging on television and the entire stadium is in a zombie-like trance singing “U, S, A, We’re Loving It!” like it was what they were born to do, and I can finally die in peace, knowing the future of football-supporting Americans is assured.


  9. Posted by Hercules on 2009/10/28 at 9:23 AM

    The Thirteen and Pioneers sound nice. But back to the original suggestions, I like the militia and a spinoff of the buffaloes (like bison etc.)

    Militia: Ragtag group that fights to the last. (pretty indicative of the current team)

    Buffalo Spinoff: Thundering/Rampaging unstoppable on offense, solid, unmovable on defense. Sounds like a nice plan.

    The Thirteen is a nice historical connection that is very similar to the Three Lions, but American.

    Pioneers also works as well, but we really aren’t pioneering anything in the soccer world, but it does have a nice historical connection with Manifest Destiny.


  10. Posted by michaelneis on 2009/10/28 at 9:53 AM

    I actually kind of like the Buffalo/Bison connection…brings along some nice western imagery. It’s probably best to stay away from the more military nicknames, lest that become the primary focus. If we/Nike could incorporate the snake into more US gear – i could see that idea taking off


  11. Posted by michaelneis on 2009/10/28 at 10:09 AM

    I do like the Buffalo/Bison connection….the whole herd thing works and it brings along some nice western imagery. I still confused as to why US Soccer/Nike didnt push the snake “don’t tread” campaign harder – i know it got a mixed response, but considering the lack of nicknames/identifying logos for USMNT….i think they could have ran with it further


  12. Posted by Smitty on 2009/10/28 at 10:24 AM

    This has been fun. I wish I would have taken the time to contribute earlier, because this discussion is quite a ways down the tracks already. And this is my first post on the site, so take it with a grain of salf. I will just try to throw out some thoughts, hoping to add my two cents.

    Per Wikipedia’s list of National Team Nicknames, USMNT already have more nicknames than any other national side. (Except, where does Equipo de Todos come from? Is that some sort of reference to the old twig and berries?)

    I like the DTOM logo, and think it should live on forever, but Rattlesnakes or Rattlers just doesn’t make it in my book.

    Frankly, Yanks is a serviceable nickname to me. Can’t be Yankees – the baseball club – but Yanks. Would it be possible to convince the American Sporting Public to think of USMNT when they hear the word “Yanks”? Probably impossible, but still this nickname has it’s place.

    The Sons of Liberty. “TSOL” is already associated with a seminal 80’s Punk band that never quite attained the level of popularity it should have – maybe that has something to do with the fact that the name “True Sounds of Liberty” just doesn’t roll off of the tongue? Is there a lesson in that? I think Sons of Liberty/Liberty Boys could be a good go-to second-tier nickname.

    That still leaves a decision on the First Tier nickname…I like Outlaws, but think that it is a hard nickname to live up to. Man…I don’t know. I just don’t know.


    • Posted by Kevin on 2009/10/28 at 7:04 PM

      Equipo de todos is a little obvious. We, as a nation, are as mentioned before very diverse in race and ethnicity, so we are everyone’s team or Equipo de Todos.


      • Posted by Smitty on 2009/10/28 at 7:29 PM

        OK – thanks for splaining that to me…Google translator tells me it means “All equipment.”


  13. Posted by Smitty on 2009/10/28 at 10:30 AM

    Salt…I meant salt!


  14. Posted by Mark on 2009/10/28 at 10:46 AM

    Just call them “The Dudes” and let’s be done with it.


  15. Posted by Brad on 2009/10/28 at 11:17 AM

    I like Rattlesnakes or Outlaws the best. Think about basketballer Travis Outlaw. He’s a badass, but he would still be badass if he were an accountant or a librarian, because “outlaw” is surely one of the most badass words in the English language. There’s still the issue that it’s a supporter’s group, but if I were them, I think I’d feel awesome that my name became the name of the actual team, as opposed to feeling like they ripped me off. I can’t speak for them though.

    As for Rattlesnakes, I think this is awesome because it could be casually shortened to Snakes, and no team or organization ANYWHERE calls itself the Snakes. Therefore, we have something totally unique. Also, you know how our “white” jersey is actually alternated stripes of white and kind of hardly to see vaguely whitish-silver? What if you took the silver parts and made that into a snakeskin design? Still have it only visibly from certain angles, but damn, I’d buy that shirt. Especially if we changed the crest to feature a coiled-up-read-to-attack rattlesnake.


    • Posted by Hercules on 2009/10/28 at 12:15 PM

      The snakes/rattlesnake is definitely growing on me. A snakeskin kit would look great (I think, we would have to actually see it though) The gray base with red outlines of the scales as well as the opposite. That with the opposite base color for the shorts. Sounds good to me.

      Also, the bison would be nice as well, but both make you think about the old west, and the snake has a USMNT history. Don’t Tread on Me is a great slogan too.


      • I don’t know about a snakeskin kit, but maybe Nike could begin incorporating the DTOM logo into the main kit, similar to Cameroon’s Crest on one side of the shirt and then the Lion’s head on the other. Possibly putting the snake on one of the sleeves (since Nike never puts the swoosh in the middle of the chest), or a smaller one on the back right below the neckline…

        Also, I know everyone’s been ragging on the current crest, but can you really say that you hate it, it’s been our identity since the 1994 World Cup, which is as far back as I remember, and is a modernized version from the one we had in the 1950’s. Personally I don’t have any issues with the current crest, so I don’t think it needs to be changed but that’s one man’s opinion.


  16. The Sons of Liberty / Liberty Boys has gotta be it. Goes with the country’s history, resistance from abuse of power, dedication to a cause, and willingness to fight through any situation. That certainly sounds like our boys, you can never count out the US, how many times have we conceded first only to come back and win/draw, or go out against superior opponents (Argentina, Spain, Brazil) and come back with a result that no one thought us capable off. Agreed with the flag, but we can just make our own or go buy some Liberty or Death ones…


  17. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/10/28 at 1:48 PM

    By the way, there is a precedent for the “boys” suffix.

    Bafana Bafana is South Africa’s “The Boys, The Boys.”

    Saint Kitts (apparently large enough to field a soccer team) is the Sugar Boys

    Ireland is the Boys in Green.

    I’m digging on this Sons of Liberty/Liberty Boys moniker. And, I only think about 12,500 people in the world know about the WNBA (ironic how Mark is one of them) and so I’m not worried about taking their name. When I hear Liberty or Liberty Boys I don’t think WNBA.

    When I think Yanks, I think Bronx Bombers and when I hear Rough Riders a part of me thinks of Doug Flutie though I’m not sure he ever played for them.


    • Posted by Brad on 2009/10/28 at 2:52 PM

      I know there is precedent for “boys” in other places, but not in America. (Besides Cowboys, I guess.) You just don’t hear any American fan or announcer refer to the players as “boys” in any sport. Al Michaels call the Colts the boys in blue, you know? So to me at least, Liberty Boys sounds silly. (Should we really hold up a name like “Sugar Boys” as an example?) Though The Boys, The Boys does sound sweet, I just don’t think Boys is very American.

      For Bison/Buffalo, I think it could be awesome if we added a word. Like, Thundering Herd is a great name, but “the herd” would just be stupid. Maybe we should make like Cameroon and be the Indomitable Bison. Okay, so not “indomitable” but I think Bison would need a modifier. I just don’t know what it would be.

      Either way, I’m a USMNT fan through and through and if they do pick a nickname, I’ll go with it.


      • Posted by Hercules on 2009/10/28 at 6:03 PM

        I know that I keep flipflopping, but I’m still not decided. For the additional word for bison/buffalo there is one problem, for every “Battling Bison” there is a “Bumbling Buffaloes” unfortunately”

        The Rattlers, there is the baby rattles, but it has history and either us or them could be playing “ratttled”

        Sons of Liberty/Liberty Boys seems a little snobbish, as well as the fact that I thought that we were looking for something unique from the rest of the world.

        Just an idea, and since I’m not a linguist by any stretch of the imagination, are there any Native American words/phrases that we can use along the same lines of “Bafana, Bafana” being in a native language (non-english)?


        • Posted by Hercules on 2009/10/28 at 6:18 PM

          Ok, so I looked up some Native American words, and a couple of them jumped out at me. In Navajo, buffalo is ayání and bald eagle is ‘atsá. I don’t know what the plural versions might be, but both sound like possibilities for me. And even though Eagles are common, or use of it would not be, like colors are common, but the Azzurri are not. Any thoughts and or suggestions?


  18. Posted by Kevin on 2009/10/28 at 7:21 PM

    I’m now leaning more towards the Sons of Liberty/Liberty Boys. I didn’t like it so much at first, but it sounds good, has great pro’s and virtually minimal con’s. The only thing that worried me is not being able to use the rattlesnake, but as someone had mentioned we can still use it, and Don’t Tread on Me. Remember as a whole the rattlesnake was a symbol for the US during the revolutionary war with people like Benjamin Franklin using it. It’s not like people wouldn’t understand the snake associated with the Sons of Liberty especially with their attacking nature. Someone mentioned a mascott, and I thought that would be bad ass. To have an Uncle Sam mascott just taunting the other team on the sidelines or from the stands. Don’t Tread on Me HAS to be our slogan and I’m still undecided on the crest itself. The rattlesnake will be a big part of merchandise, and don’t forget like team flags and possibly even the crest. I like it.

    My vote goes out to Sons of Liberty. Thank you Matt, Mark, Andrew, and Matt B for making up my mind. (Now I just need to know the name of the guy who made the comment about mascotts.)


  19. Posted by Smitty on 2009/10/28 at 7:50 PM

    As I think about it more, I begin to think that the nickname should spring from the colors, the logo, or the crest.

    Seems to me that no one is particularly attached to the US National Crest. The current Crest is almost universally despised – or at least ignored. And conversely, the Don’t Tread On Me logo was seen as univerally cool. What if we redid the Crest with the Rattlesnake/Soccer Ball from the DTOM logo?

    If this were adpoted as the Crest, then from it, the team nickname would naturally follow as the Rattlesnakes, Rattlers, or my new favorite, the Snakes (never thought of it until Brad posted it above.)

    As Brad mentions, the Snakes is unique, it is fearsome, and it rolls easily off the tongue.

    Sons of Liberty is still fitting and available to be used, as is the Liberty Boys, but these seem like secondary nicknames to me.

    The Snakes….I could see that becoming a nickname that everyone in America, who pays attention to sports, associates with the USMNT.


  20. Posted by Andrew in SJ on 2009/10/28 at 11:01 PM

    Alright, I just gotta post. I originally posted the Sons of Liberty idea (being a huge Metal Gear fan, although that was not the best game in the series), and I still think it stands up to these as the best in the bunch. Let me just run through my thoughts on the other ones:

    The Buffalo – I think there are many more animals indigenous to North America that are more threatening than the Buffalo. I’ve seen the Buffalo in Golden Gate park. They illicit feelings of sympathy, I don’t want to beat Mexico in a soccer match after seeing them. Also, the idea of “Buffalo Supporters” reminds me of Buffalo Soldiers, who although admirable, may remind everyone of a certain Bob Marley song, which (I don’t think) hasn’t been featured on any Jock Jams collections as of late.

    The Freedom Fighters – This is alright. It reminds me of a group like the Rebellion from Star Wars. America has kind of become the antithesis of this in recent years, being seen as more of an evil Empire. Although, soccer in this country doesn’t enjoy the most widespread popularity, so maybe people will see it as a fight to bring it into the mainstream. Who knows; I’m a little drunk and that alcohol is finding it’s way into this post.

    The Militia – Are we taking guns into the street and going on a witch hunt after the game? When I think of militia I think of a disorganized, scared mob whose objective is to exercise their fear through violence. The meaning is long detached from Paul Revere and the Shot Heard ‘Round the World. Although I do agree that it sounds cool, it just sounds wrong being announced as the Militia in another country (see above).

    The Outlaws – Although I do think this sounds ridiculously cool and conjures up the right imagery, it’s already taken by the USMNT supporter’s group (of which I’m trying to start a chapter in the SF Bay Area… if you’re interested). It would be a little flattering to have the team take the name of a supporter’s group, but think of a San Jose supporter’s group being called the Earthquakes. Or a Galaxy supporter’s group called Dumb. Er, Galaxy. See my alcohol comment above (no offense to any LA fans… just a good ribbing). It just doesn’t feel right is all I’m saying.

    The Rattlesnakes – Although this is very cool what with the graphic on the jersey, it just doesn’t strike the same chord with other countries’. Of course we know what it means; but how many people that didn’t go to middle school in the US know of the “Join or Die” banner and the snake component of it? I love, love, love the Nike logo, but it’s just too much of a stretch to make that connection with the team. And I’m sorry, but there is absolutely, 3,000% no way I am buying a jersey with snakeskin print on it. I just don’t have the boots to match.

    The Revolutionaries – Exactly what are we revolting against anymore? This would be good if it motivated the fans and the country, but it seems empty now. Maybe if there were more politics involved in our sport (see Honduras, El Salvador) or if there were some great injustice against us, but there isn’t. It’s good and brings to mind images of muskets and tricorn hats, but… it brings to mind images of muskets and tricorn hats.

    The Rough Riders – I can’t be the only one who thinks about Ruff Ryders when this is brought up. I don’t want to be thinking about DMX during a match. I don’t want to be “losing my mind, up in here.” I don’t want “X to give it to me.” Plus, it just doesn’t fit. I think of Teddy Roosevelt, cavalry, and for some reason cacti when I hear Rough Riders. It’s a little antiquated (which I think is a problem with most of our proposed nicknames) and just isn’t as relevant. It’s like chanting, “Blockhead! Blockhead! Blockhead!” at our opponents. I have a feeling it would bring out the laughs.

    Sons of Liberty – Obviously, I feel kinda strongly for this one. Aside from my affinity for games featuring a guy named Snake, it’s obvious enough to our opponents who we are and what we stand for, but also holds a separate meaning for us as the secret society who fought behind the scenes against tyranny. It holds a certain mystique. It also alludes to one of our most famous and enduring/meaningful landmarks, the Statue of Liberty. I don’t know; I think all of these nicknames sound a little hokey and clunky, but this one really rings true with me.

    All of this being said, I appreciate that everyone on here, everyone has something to contribute. Everything is really creative and mine is just as open to criticism as anyone else’s. At the end of the day we’re a democracy, right? I think we’re thinking about this too much and there’s no guarantee that anything will be picked up by the USSF, but I think it’s a good forum for support and it shows a little bit of our creative, not just analytical, sides. Keep up the good work, readers and bloggers alike. And as always…

    GO USA!!!


    • Posted by Brad on 2009/10/29 at 9:18 PM

      I don’t think our opponents need to know why we’re called what we are. I have no idea why Nigeria is the Super Eagles, or Cameroon the Indomitable Lions, or a lot of other animal nicknames that exist. For any name, it just matters what we think, not them.


  21. Posted by Coach P on 2009/10/28 at 11:01 PM

    How about Kilroys? (Or some variation of that)

    If you haven’t heard of the Kilroy legends, here is the ‘pedia link

    It goes back to USA’s involvement in WWII and Korean War. There could be unique and creative t-shirts with it (have Uncle Sam’s face or a star player instead of the normal cartoon character). The Kilroy logo was often extreme places that seemed unreachable like a World Cup Final… Just kinda spitballing here.

    I also in joy Liberty Boys/Sons of Liberty, Outlaws, and Rough Riders. Overall keep up the good work guys!


    • Posted by Brad on 2009/10/29 at 9:27 PM

      I like the sound of Kilroys to an extent, in that it’s kind of strange and probably a bit confusing to any opponent that would hear it. A crest with a dude leering over it might look cool too.

      But as I think about it, with the way our fanbase has so fully embraced the Revolutionary War era for inspiration, I feel like our name just about has to come from that era. I mean, you go to a game you see all kinds of snake flags and ’76 flags, it’s like our thing. We need a name from the era, I think.


  22. Posted by Swa on 2009/10/29 at 11:56 AM

    Big fan of the Sons of Liberty. It evokes images of dumping tea off of ships and consuming vast quantities of Sam Adams. In keeping up with all of this commentary I’ve consistently felt as though it’s the best option, especially because it doesn’t rule out the DTOM logo and slogan.

    But then I did some thinking. Rattlers/Rattlesnakes doesn’t really work for some people, so why not do a little more snake research? Thanks to Wikipedia and a cursory recollection classification of species from Freshman Bio with Mrs. Walsh from 7 years ago, we have a more menacing name derived from the family or genus or what have you of which Rattlesnakes are a part.

    I give you the USMNT Vipers.


    • Posted by Hercules on 2009/10/29 at 12:25 PM

      Along the lines of snake research…what about the USMNT Racers?

      First, there is the impression/attitude of “we might not be better than you technically, but we sure are better than you physically, and can run right past you.”

      And second, Racers are a wide range of snakes that are found throughout the US, and are known for their speed, quickness, and agility.


  23. Posted by kaya on 2009/10/29 at 12:21 PM

    I’m way late on this one. Sons of Liberty is just too long. And yes Matthew(sf), I’m still against the uber cute rattlesnakes =)
    One I read that I kinda like is Gringos. But I guess that’s cuz I grew up being called that (in the nicest way possible, really!)
    But pckilgore listed one I like in a more “serious” fashion.
    Screaming Eagles
    Militia, Minutemen, Freedom Fighters (and even Outlaws to a certain extent) just conjure up too much “America… F&#k yeah!” Imagery.
    Screaming Eagles is just badass without all the negative affiliation.


    • Posted by Andrew in SJ on 2009/10/29 at 12:54 PM

      It’s good, I’ll give you that. But it’s a little close to the Super Eagles of Nigeria. And correct me if I’m wrong, but is it the name of a supporter’s group for DC United?


    • “Screaming Eagles is just badass without all the negative affiliation.”

      I think this is a good way to express my views on what a nickname should or shouldn’t be either. How do you feel about “The thirteen”?


  24. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/10/29 at 12:51 PM

    I just want to let everyone know that TSG will be definitely doing a follow-up piece to all your awesome commentary….

    ….and that I feel a lot of pressure to capture all the great commentary contained here-in….

    Keep it coming and thanks.


  25. Posted by Brad on 2009/11/01 at 11:32 PM

    Just to throw this out there one the Rattlesnakes/Rattlers/Snakes or whatever, totally ripped from wikipedia but still, it’s Ben Franklin on rattlesnakes:

    I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids—She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance.—She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage.—As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shewn and extended for her defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal:—Conscious of this, she never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her.—Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this a strong picture of the temper and conduct of America?

    Just seems to fit our soccer team a little bit eh? Like the colonists of the 1770s, we are a rarely-regarded side who can, through sheer will, earn a victory against a European power (but Spain instead of England, in this case.) Let’s go Snakes! Let’s go Snakes!


  26. […] on Monday,  Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner will not suit up for the Danish Dynamite (great nickname) due to a groin injury suffered last weekend in EPL […]


  27. I know the commentary on this is all but dead…I was over at the Football Shirt Culture blog where they’ve got images of the Puma Kits for the upcoming African Cup of Nations and likely the World Cup. For a few of the teams that have awesome nicknames like Egypt, Ivory Coast, and Cameroon, etc. they have a sublimated/shadowed image that on the upper right shoulder. This wouldn’t look too bad on a US shirt, with the DTOM logo sublimated/shadowed somewhere on the shirt.


  28. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/05 at 3:50 PM

    Cmon Nick.

    We are The Shin Guardian. We always followup and through.

    We will be coming out with Part 3 in a month or so and then we,ll submit to USSF.


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


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