Major League Soccer awarded Miami an expansion franchise on Monday, ending a process that dragged on for four long years. Miami’s soccer fans got a party to celebrate the big moment, replete with celebrity appearances (via video) and a shower of confetti. What Miami’s soccer fans didn’t get — despite the four years David Beckham’s group had to plan for the official confirmation of the club’s birth — was a name.
Miami’s new MLS team needs a name as the fans need an identity around which to rally. It has to speak to the unique flavor of Miami while at the same time appealing to discerning soccer fans with interests in the U.S., Europe, and South America. It has to be perfect.
Luckily, we have suggestions. Here are five club monikers that Beckham should consider as he builds toward 2020 and the return of MLS soccer to South Florida. (Note that none of these suggestions include “FC” (or the less common “SC”) though the acronym can be added … if it’s absolutely necessary.)
Considering Miami’s location and status as gateway from the United States into Latin America, a name that points to its international character makes sense. The most famous club carrying the “Inter” name is based in Milan, but for Miami’s purposes, the full version of “Inter Miami” should be rendered in the Spanish spelling: Internacional Miami.
A name that sounds like it takes after a different club from Milan, the “AC” in this suggestion is probably better as “Athletic Club” than AC Milan’s “Associazione Calcio.” Beckham’s team can trade on the fame of the Italian club, hit on the Euro-style trend that has dominated in recent years and stand out from the rest of MLS. It might not even be a bad idea to go with stripes in the kit.
Sensing a theme? This name fits with the Latin character of Miami and gives Beckham’s group plenty of options for badge and colors. There are a host of clubs around the world who use the “Atlético” name, meaning the Miami team couldn’t be accused of aping a single famous club. “Atlético Miami” is simple, classy and easy to sell to both Spanish and English speakers alike.
Major League Soccer’s return to Miami is a perfect excuse to revive the name of the city’s first MLS club, the Fusion. If the name was good enough for Carlos Valderrama, Preki and a young Kyle Beckerman, then it should be good enough for whatever big stars Beckham brings in for the second attempt. “Miami Fusion FC” is currently being used by an NPSL side but shouldn’t be too hard to acquire if Beckham and his rich friends ask nicely.
Believe it or not, “Miami Vice” was used as a placeholder name when Beckham and his group spoke to civic leaders and potential investors in 2014. An obvious reference to the hit ’80s television show starring Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas, going with the Vice identity would open the door to a host of amazing tie-ins. For one, pink and pastels are definitely on the table for club colors. For another, every player could arrive at the stadium in a convertible Ferrari.
Jason Davis covers Major League Soccer and the United States national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @davisjsn.