There is a tendency among people trying to be creative to get too cute, to overthink matters.
Sometimes things are brutally obvious, but we look past them because if it’s so obvious, how good can it be? We must be clever, we must be innovative, we must be bold and daring. And then you often end up with something that’s convoluted, that makes no sense, is dated within weeks and doesn’t stand up to a test of time.
The wait to learn the name of St. Louis’ entry in Major League Soccer drags on, and it will likely drag on for a bit longer. For all we know, the name has long been decided and sits in a safe in Carolyn Kindle Betz’s living room, though I have no idea whether or not she has one. (A name or a safe; I’m confident she has a living room.)
So this may well be a moot argument. But if anyone were to ask me, and people have, though no one with any say in the matter, my answer remains simple:
The team should be the St. Louis Stars.
It is a name steeped in history and common sense. Stars was the name of St. Louis’ entry in the North American Soccer League, playing here from 1967 to 1977. (It was also the name of a successful Negro League baseball team in St. Louis in the early 1900s.)
The Stars were rare in the NASL that while other teams imported players from overseas and filled out their roster with Americans, the Stars went the other way and loaded up on St. Louisans. (Because it was cheaper, but that’s beside the point.)
The Stars never won a championship, but they came in second in 1972 and lasting 11 seasons back then was no small feat. Only a few teams in the NASL played longer in one place than the Stars. Some of the best players of that era from St. Louis — Pat McBride and Al Trost prominent among them — played for the Stars.
The name honors St. Louis’ soccer heritage. It would be a fine tribute to Robert Hermann, one of the owners of the Stars and one of the most influential soccer people in the country.
And it’s just a good name. Short. Sweet. It’s got one syllable. It ends in an S. People know what a Star is. You would recognize it if you saw it. It’s alliterative. The first two letters can be found in the name of the city.
Stars are a good thing. No one is ever mad at Stars. “Curse you Alpha Centauri!” has never been uttered. It is not an abstract concept. You don’t have to explain it to anyone. It will be as good in 2022 as it will be in 2052 or 2122. As long as stars last, Stars will last.
And if that argument fails, I plead with you: don’t call it "(Something) FC."
The sport in this country is soccer, not football. We fought a war with England to be independent of them. We don’t have to bow to the queen and we don’t have to call soccer football.
Got an idea for naming St. Louis' MLS team? Post your suggestions in the "Comments" section of this story.