Football in the States gets a new side
According to announcements, the next team in Major League Soccer will be … Orlando City.
“Orlando City”? As opposed to what? There is no Orlando County. In fact, there is no other professional soccer team in Orlando unless this MLS team is to be different from the existing minor-league team called, umm, Orlando City. As a distinguishing mark, then, ‘City’ is not so obviously useful. So what is the ‘City’ doing in the name? Apparently it is distinguishing Orlando City from a mythical Orlando United, as Manchester City from Manchester United; in other words, it has nothing to do with the municipal status of Orlando and everything to do with sounding like a European “side”.
Add it, then, to the list of US soccer teams aping European club names ― various ‘FC’s, ‘Sporting Kansas City’, ‘DC United’, and the like. The worst, of course, is ‘Real Salt Lake’. The ‘Real’ of Real Madrid means “royal”. But there’s no king in Salt Lake ― unless we count Thomas Monson, which possibly we should.
I’m all for the incorporation of US English into a harmonized, or globalized, English, and naturally we should expect to yield to Britishisms now and again; though not nearly as often as some are inclined to do, or as for instance the Anglocentric/Anglophilic editors of Wikipedia insist, since after all the United States is by far the largest collection of native speakers of English (which is why we should dismiss the frequent complaint among Brits regarding Americanisms or especially mistakenly-supposed Americanisms). If the enthusiasm of US soccer fans for ‘side’, ‘kit’, ‘keeper’, and the like is just to harmonize with the larger fan base in Britain, fine, though it seems more like a pathetic attempt to fit in, a desperate plea to be included. Here’s a fact, US soccer fans: the Europeans will never accept you based on the terms you use, or the European-sounding names you give to your football clubs. The only way to be promoted to the top tier is to play at that level. You have to win it on the pitch, so to speak.
And if you ever call it “The Beautiful Game”, you are beyond redemption. To use what I hope is an Americanism: gag.
― O.T. Ford