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Checketts vows no double-Zs

MLS team seeks a catchy moniker — soccer style

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 2 2015 4:54 a.m. MDT

For those of you who had the Salt Lake Brine Shrimp in your name-the-Utah-MLS-team office pool, you lose.
Ditto for any name ending in double-Zs. In the name of all that's Utah, that's a name-brand tradition one can credit to (blame on?) the Jazz, Starzz, Buzz and Blitzz.
So, no Cricketzz.
That's according to Dave Checketts (not Checketzz), who on Thursday spent some time at the annual meeting of the Economic Development Corp. of Utah doing some name-dropping. He used the EDCU as a focus group to get some feedback on a few possible monikers for his new team, which will take the field next year.
The winning name will be announced "in just a few weeks," he said. The right choice of nomenclature is important for several reasons. Namely, it can mean big bucks for the team if it catches the fancy of the sports-garb-wearing crowd.
Heading into Thursday, team officials already had shot down a rumor that the name would be Boom. Checketts added a few more names to the ain't-gonna-happen list.
"It's not going to be the Crickets, nor the Seagulls, nor the Pioneers, nor the Brine Shrimp. It's not going to be any of them," he said during the lighthearted presentation.
If Thursday's applause levels are any indication, the franchise may want to keep the name real rather than Real. Among the name options discussed Thursday, Real Salt Lake — patterned after European soccer power Real Madrid — drew the least-enthusiastic response. It prompted nothing but quizzical murmurs when Checketts first tossed it into the name mix.
"Nobody will pronounce it properly," he said, explaining that "real" means "royalty" in Spanish. "That might be part of the appeal, don't you think?"
So, unless a better appellation springs up soon, that leaves — drum roll, please — these other name-calling options:

• The Salt Lake Glory. "People are shaking their heads," Checketts observed after trying that one out. "Can't you see the headlines: 'Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!' You don't like that?"

• The Salt Lake Alliance. Chalk that one up to an attempt to sound soccer-like, although one audience member said it is too business-like. She didn't tell her name.
"Names of soccer clubs are a little bit different than other teams," Checketts said. "You want it to be known as a soccer club. You don't want any question that it might be an arena football team or remind you of an indoor lacrosse team. Soccer clubs are a little bit more traditional, when you think about the international names, they're a little bit more about tradition."
Thus he pounded a metaphorical corner kick right at the Colorado Rapids. "You can't tell if that's an arena football team or what it is. . . . Remember, you have to have something that communicates soccer."

• The Salt Lake Highlanders. "Now, this will be unique, because we'll throw away the soccer shorts and these guys will wear kilts," Checketts joked. "It will bring new meaning to the slide tackle, wearing kilts. Only people who went to Highland High will be able to play for this team.
"You like the kilts? That will bring the women in."
Audience members, put on the spot by Checketts to name names, suggested only a couple of substitutes, which he critiqued then and there: Lakers is already taken by another major sports franchise, and Strikers "sounds like a bunch of union guys."


E-mail: bwallace@desnews.com

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