Is the Columbus Crew Giving Itself a Crewcut?

(AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)

Although the team itself has made no official announcement, word is out that Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew SC (Soccer Club, in case anyone can’t figure out what sport a team in a league named Major League Soccer plays) is planning on dropping Crew from its identity, instead referring to itself as the … drum roll please … Columbus Soccer Club, or Columbus SC for short. This will no doubt immediately put the team in the same sentence as all the other soccer teams across the globe who use FC (Football Club) or variations thereof in their names. Real Madrid! Barcelona! Manchester United! Liverpool! COLUMBUS, baybee!!!

In fairness, it is noted that Columbus is the defending MLS champion, having beaten Seattle 3-0 last December in front of some 1,500 assumably rabid fans and over a million television viewers. This proves one of two things. Either soccer is more popular in this country than generally believed, or COVID cabin fever has laid waste to a far greater swath of sports fans than anyone thought.

Should Columbus act as reported and cut the Crew from its moniker, it will join several other teams in MLS similarly challenged to come up with a name. Of the twenty-seven teams currently in the league, the number with an actual name is eleven. Everyone else has some variant of FC or United or Real, in the latter case going before the city name. That Real Madrid — Real Salt Lake game is gonna be lit.

Exactly why MLS teams feel such a need to imitate their international colleagues remains a mystery. Does Columbus actually think dropping the Crew from its name will somehow make itself more marketable? The team is in Columbus, Ohio, a city where the height of drama comes from guessing which sousaphone player will be selected to dot the “i” when the Ohio State Marching Band comes on the field during halftime. Columbus lives for Ohio State football and to a lesser degree men’s basketball. The only sporting entity in town of lesser importance than the Crew is the NHL’s Blue Jackets, a team that in its twenty years of existence has made the playoffs only six times and advanced past the first round exactly once, only to lose in the second round.

It could be worse. The Crew could decide that in the spirit of political correctness it needs to remove Columbus from its name and become the Exploiter of Indigenous People SC, which would be tough to make small enough for incorporation into a crest. Perhaps it could skip a city name altogether and simply call itself Soccer Club, although this could lead to an issue wherein the first rule of Soccer Club is you do not talk about Soccer Club. Although come to think of it, Columbus is pretty much there already.

If MLS is serious about wishing to cement itself into the American sports mentality, it should stop trying to be European and start embracing the American way. Nothing gives better evidence of this approach’s wisdom than minor league baseball, which has started up again after losing the entire 2020 season to COVID. This is where you find the great team names, sources of civic pride and identity such as:

Now those are names to live by.

Even minor league hockey has cool (no pun intended) names:

C’mon Columbus. Try harder.