National Nicknames

While writing a piece for The Daily KRuMB, I realized that the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team doesn’t have a nickname that has truly stuck. The U.S. Men’s National Rugby Team does, but not the soccer squad. It got me thinking. How many of the teams in this year’s World Cup have a nickname by which they are popularly known. Here they are by Group. In two cases (United States & Slovenia), I used the actual name of the nation because there is no standard nickname by which the squad is known. In all other cases, I provide only the nickname and not the name of the country. I leave it to you to put them together.

Group A
Les Bleus
El Tricolor
Bafana Bafana

Group B
Super Eagles

Group C
Les Fennecs
Three Lions
United States

Group D
Die Nationalelf
The Black Stars
White Eagles

Group E
Lions Indomptables
Danish Dynamite
Osim Japan

Group F
All Whites

Group G
A Seleção
Les Eléphants

Group H
La Roja
Los Catrachos
La Furia Roja

As you can see from the above list only two teams of the thirty-two playing don’t have nicknames. The United States & Slovenia. In my research, I did find several nicknames that the United States squad has been called over the years: “Sam’s Army”, “The Stars & Stripes”, “The Eagles”, “The Red, White & Blue”, “The Yanks”. Yet not one of these has really stuck with the team. “Sam’s Army” has kind of migrated away from the USMNT and toward the travelling fans of the USMNT. “The Stars & Stripes” never really had a chance – mostly, I think, because there are no Stars on the USMNT kit. “The Red, White & Blue” is just clumsy and not easy to write nor say with any regularity. “The Eagles” is the national rugby team’s nickname and I think they might take umbrage if the USMNT usurped it. I vote for “the Yanks”. It has a semi-disparaging tone to it, but I think – as American’s do – that the USMNT can embrace that and rise above it. Some English pundits are calling Group C the EASY (England, Algeria, Slovenia, Yanks) Group. I think we should ride that “Yanks” title into the first game and tame those Three Lions.

One comment

  • Except that the only folk that calls us the Yanks is those who are not. Even though I don’t think it is, at least it wasn’t at its inception, a slur, I think the USMNT needs a nickname that represents what the fans want to call them.

    Kyle, this is a great topic! And you are absolutely right, they need a name. I think ultimately that name will have to spontaneously appear, probably something patriotic.

    Some suggestions: The Stars, The 50 Stars, the 50’s, the 1776’ers, The Liberties (Go Libs!?), The Geronimos (101st Airborne Battle Cry at the Battle of the Bulge), The Continentals, The Devil Dogs (nickname given the US Army in WW1).