What's in a Name

While we wait for Deloitte and Touche to recount and verify the results, Frank MacDonald talks to fans about how they voted.
A house divided, mine is.

Four votes were cast for the name of Seattle’s new MLS club, and apparently each vote was different. Only half of the precinct was divulging their decision, with the others citing privacy rules.

Fortunately, those in the general population were more forthcoming as I trolled for people’s opinions on the future of this franchise.

Based on a totally unscientific study, it should be quite a runoff between two frontrunners, with a lot of anxiety building toward that hour on Apr. 7 when the club’s name, crest and colors are revealed.

Five days of online voting ended Monday at midnight. An outside party, Deloitte & Touche, will recount the results. The most popular name wins.

Seattle FC and, from the write-in category, Seattle Sounders would appear to be the co-favorites among adults. However, if the Soccer Nation’s youth were mobilized, take notice: everything is fair game.

Old School

“I prefer old school football names,” said John of Seattle. “Seattle FC is perfect. It’s on the money.”

With him in spirit was Charlie, sitting on the next barstool over. “Yes,” he said. “But I like the sound of Seattle United.”

To review, the online ballot featured three ready-made choices: Seattle Alliance, Seattle FC and Seattle Republic. There was also a write-in category, and Sounders backers appeared determined and well organized.

“The Sounders are our history,” said Eric, whose vote will count double because he put down deposits on two season tickets. Eric went to his first Sounders game at Memorial Stadium in 1974, when he was 5. To him, Sounders is synonymous with professional soccer in Seattle.

“Sounders is also a very British sounding name, like (Blackburn) Rovers or (Bolton) Wanderers,” he added.

Leaflets in Hand

Eric’s group was handing out campaign leaflets urging support of votes for Sounders. Be it in person, calling into sports radio or writing rhetoric online, the Sounders movement was passionate and mobilized to take advantage of the write-in option.

“Sounders is instant name recognition,” said Jeff.

“It speaks for the region, from Tacoma to Bellingham,” Said another supporter, Clayton. Keeping the names Sounders, Timbers and Whitecaps gives us continuity.”

Among the other write-in candidates voters put forth (in addition to Sounders and United) were Seattle City, Steelheads and Sun Dodgers.

Typically in government elections, write-ins rarely stand a chance. The Sounders contingent interviewed understood that and yet liked their chances.

“We really think that if Sounders doesn’t win, it’s more than likely Seattle FC will,” said Sean, “and then we’ll push at the grassroots level to have the nickname become Sounders anyway.”

Solid Backing

Although not necessarily sexy, Seattle FC has some staunch support.

“It’s a classic football name,” said Dave. “I like the old Sounders name, but this is a new, fresh, clean beginning. So let’s start with Seattle FC and maybe the supporters club is named Sounders.

“It’s proper name for a football club,” claims Gary. “Sounders might be kind of nice, but then why not call it the Stars or the Sea Dogs? They had some success too.”

There was a fair amount of blank stares or wrinkled noses when people were asked about Alliance or Republic. Bland, unimaginative, corporate were among the terms to describe the Original Three.

Unless, that is, the question was posed to a teenager.

“I kind of like Alliance,” said Haley, 16. “I don’t know if I love it, but I like it.” She had a handful of teammates who shared the same view.

And as for those of you who believe that Republic has no chance, think again. “It’s new and a little bit different,” said Sarah.

According to MLS Seattle officials, more than 2,300 names were originally suggested. And now, whether it’s Republic or FC, Alliance or Sounders, you, the people, named it.