116street Soccer

Footballing from a lesser authority...

Location: New York, New York

Friday, February 02, 2007

Major League Posing

We here on 116th Street are very big fans of the Champions League. It is, in fact one of the primary things that attracts us to the game, and the fact that it has been on hiatus for the better part of a month gives us no joy (in fact, one could even go as far as to say that the lack of Champions League activity and the lack of posts on this blog have more than an indirect relationship). We are also big fans of any tournament idea that tries to mimic Champions League-style action, which is why we are such strong proponents of the SuperLiga. There is, however, one thing that is presently bugging us to no end, and that is Major League Soccer's attempt to not only recreate a Champions League-style competition, but to seemingly recreate the clubs of the very league on U.S. soil.
To recap: months ago, rumors of a rebrand of the Colorado Rapids began surfacing on BigSoccer.com; part of the speculation became reality when the Rapids' claret and sky blue uniforms were leaked not long ago. The second part of the rumor, a proposed name change to "Colorado Arsenal" was summarily brushed aside as a dead-end proposal, until yesterday. Once the lords in charge of the Rapids' website got caught testing a few pages online, some of which contained Colorado Arsenal imagery, the cat was out of the bag, and the fires of Rapids rebranding innuendo ignited once again.
While we here on 116th Street are not MLS aficionados, per se, we do like the league well enough and hope for its success. So while we can go along with a couple of FC's (Dallas and Toronto are tolerable, but no more after, please), we cannot justify the total ripoff of a more famous club's identity for the sake of luring in more "hardcore" supporters. So while we know that there is more than one United, Real, Inter and even Arsenal in the world, we also know that having a United, Real, Arsenal, and Inter (which was going to be Toronto FC's name, I don't care how anyone spins it), not to mention a Chivas, Dynamo and Red Bull (not quite as easily associated with European soccer but still the name of another team) is an effing joke. How can you have six teams in your league that share a name with a club overseas, plus a couple of "FC's" and convince anyone that you're not a bunch of posers?
So this is what we've come to, Arsenal vs. United, with nary a Champions League berth or Premiership standing on the line. Nope, we won't have any North Londoners or Geordies or Hammers or Red Devils supporters around. Next time Arsenal plays United, there will be more Broncos and Redskins colors on display than anything else. Sure, if you own an MLS team you can name it whatever you want; but isn't this naming thing running a little rampant? After all, if I ever really wanted to watch a fake Champions League club, I'd just watch Tottenham.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is such a proliferation of "United" in the world, that I think you're off base if you think DC United are poseurs. Not to mention, the club have had the spine to not tinker with the name, a la New York, Kansas City, Colorado, and Dallas.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Z. Jackson said...

I'm not calling DC United poseurs per se, it's just that the proliferation of other knockoff names in the league dilutes the value of DC United's brand. The more MLS teams follow the lead of Real Salt Lake and the horrid "Colorado Arsenal," the more DC United gets lumped in with the same group, which is a major problem for DC and the league.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Not to follow the same vien as everyone else, but DC United are not anything like the rest. If Colorado is rebranded as arsenal, a United vs. Arsenal match, like the MLS season opener, will not have Redskins colors at it. DC United fans know what colors to wear to United matches, those colors are Red & Black.

10:21 AM  
Anonymous McCrum said...

I can imagine that it's a little difficult for ANY league smaller than The World's Best League In Insert Sport Here. If NFL Europe had begun to fail after a few years they would have probably tinkered a lot more with names and come up with a team a lot like the Cowboys or Giants.

MLS has gotten the short end of the stick for 10 years now as Europhiles look down on the league (Interestingly, while most Europhiles I know are fans of the USMNT, they don't seem to appreciate what MLS has done to make the USMNT better. Funny, that. But that's a story for another day.) If RSL and Colorado can tie themselves with another league in an effort to get MLS into the black, more power to them.

When I go to games, it's for my team (Quick shout out to the Fire), not because they're associated with a Mexican club team (And a shout out to Morelia, hey!), not because they've got some flashy European running around the field, but because they're my team.

I've been to the things like DCU-Chelsea games and while there was a lot of blue, the Black and Red was in fine force that weekend. MLS has great fans, who will stand by their team. If sacrifices must be made at this time in order to avoid the fate of the NASL you will find that most fans are willing to take the longer view. If Arsenal-Colorado falls apart in ten years and Colorado has 30,000 rabid fans of its own out of the deal, I would consider that a big win.

I spoke to an Arsenal fan who is a DCU ticket holder, there's no question in his mind who his team is in MLS. If the Rapids have a deal, good for them, but he's not swayed to leave the fold.

9:06 PM  
Blogger Yee Piao said...

I am the author of Simple Life of YP, which the link is available in my Blogger profile.

I am really interested in football and would like to add you to my blogroll so that I don't have to remember your URL.

If can, I would like you to add me too. Can you add me and tell me which country are you from so that I can add you?

I really do read blogs that have done blogrolling with me and I really appreciate every one of my blog affiliates...

Thanks for giving time to read this. Just treat this as a spam if you decided you disappoint me....

Yee Piao

7:19 AM  
Blogger Lori said...

Hey Z:
I am trying to learn about soccer in the NYC area. Do you know anything about local teams? I am researching a film project.

8:52 PM  
Blogger aa said...


3:31 AM  

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