The most hotly debated and discussed sports team in Milwaukee not only isn't playing, it doesn't even exist yet.
That would be the brand new Milwaukee pro soccer team, coming to the upcoming Iron District complex. The new USL Championship level squad won't take the pitch until 2025 – but before the on-field competition starts, there's a thrilling off-field competition that began last month.
From the first announcement of a new pro soccer club Downtown, Milwaukee Pro Soccer officials said they would listen to the fans – and indeed, the organization's turned to the fans these past several weeks with a vote to decide the upcoming team's name.
After taking suggestions for the past several months, the team's narrowed down its options to 64 Brew City brands, now going head-to-head in a bracket-style clash. Each day around 10 a.m., starting with last month's debut, Milwaukee Pro Soccer will post four newly revealed potential team names split into two moniker matchups, with fans voting for their favorite in each showdown on Milwaukee Pro Soccer's website. With the aid of the public vote – each week's winners will be posted on the organization's website and social media the following Friday – the 64 names will democratically dwindle down to 32 options, then fewer and fewer, with a single name eventually selected as the Brew City's best. Other details, such as the team's colors, crest and more, will be decided with the help of fans as well, though on a later date.
But what good is a sporting contest without rankings!?
Indeed, while Milwaukee Pro Soccer will have the official tallies on the formal vote, I'm making my own running personal standings of the freshly announced name options – in order from the most deserving of relegation to most deserving of hoisting making snow angels in confetti at the end.
So, here are all 64 proposed names for the impending Milwaukee soccer team, ranked from the most Spursy (re: not great) to the most Haaland-like (re: quite great), with many more still to be added. And make sure your own voice is heard right here! Because with everyone's help, when the new pro team kicks off in 2025, we'll have a Milwaukee moniker to be proud of ... or at least one better than "San Diego Loyal SC."
64. Milwaukee Confluence
Milwaukee Confluence sounds nothing like a sports team and everything like a young working professionals group that keeps inviting people to networking events that no one ever attends and uses the word "activate" too much. In case anyone asks, this option likely comes from Milwaukee's literal location where the Milwaukee, Menomonee and Kinnickinnic rivers all join, aka a "confluence" ... but no one will ever ask, because Milwaukee Confluence sounds too boring to be interesting.
63. Milwaukee Co.
Soccer fans already have to do enough explaining of the game's terminology and slang – soccer versus football, pitch versus field, kit versus uniform, what the heck all the leagues and levels mean. Why would we want to add a whole new layer of confusion with "Milwaukee Co. actually isn't a company but our soccer team"? I'm also pretty sure Milwaukee Co. is already regularly used to shorten Milwaukee County – which, for one, makes it look like we got really lazy with the team name and, secondly, would make for an SEO nightmare. On the positive side, we could cheer them on by turning "You go, Glen Coco" into "You go, Milwaukee Co." So there's that, I guess.
62. Milwaukee Cheese
If you asked ChatGPT to name a Milwaukee sports team, this is the cliche, corny and obvious result you'd get. Plus, you'd be dooming your team to constant Swiss cheese jokes every time you let in a goal. Cheese: great food, bad team name. Even the Milwaukee Pro Soccer Twitter account put it in a grave already.
Welcome to the portion of the soccer team name rankings I shall call "The Bermu-duh Triangle": three team names that are so obvious and devoid of creativity that they would make a mockery of this whole process. Enter the first – and worst – of this terrible trilogy: Wisconsin. Just ... Wisconsin. Congratulations: We may not know how to spell it, but we DO at least know what state we're in! It's "no duh" embarrassing with no originality or thought – and also this is Milwaukee's team! Sure, the rest of Wisconsin is welcome to join in the footy fun – but this is a team for and by the city. Name it after us!
OK, maybe don't name it JUST after us. Anyways, uh ... where's the rest of it Thanks for the effort, but also where's the effort.
On its face, Milwaukee (enter FC or SC here) wouldn't be a BAD name. It would just be deeply underwhelming and embarrassing for anyone who knew the backstory. We undertook a whole laborious polling process more than a half-year in the making, gathering up hundreds of names and thousands upon thousands of votes across weeks of activity, spraining our brains trying to come up with a creative moniker that truly captures the spirit of our city, all to pick ... Milwaukee. Just ... Milwaukee. This would be the sports version of when none of your friends can decide where to go out for dinner so you end up never leaving the couch for the night, eating plain spaghetti and wondering if you need better friends.
Not plain spaghetti and the couch AGAIN!? Seriously, we're not doing this whole city-wide, brain-spraining creativity search just to land on "what if Milwaukee but less." Seriously, all it says about us as a city is that we know where we are. It's better than just "Milwaukee" because at least shortening it requires the bare minimum of imagination; it's worse, though, because MKE FC/SC is just too many letters in a row. Sounds like we're trying to solve the final "Wheel of Fortune" puzzle or just listing off all the acronyms we know. MKE FC BYOB MST3K THX-1138 ... United.
58. Milwaukee Craft
Because I have beer on the brain because it's a day that ends with Y, I assumed that this was in reference to our now-bustling craft brewing scene. But actually, according to Milwaukee Pro Soccer's rationale, it "speaks to the crafting work that made the city and also speaks to craft, as in what goes on our great lake!" What does "crafting work" specifically mean – because that sounds like arts and crafts to me? And what does "craft" for that matter, other than a generic floating vessel of some or any kind? The name's just way too vague and undefined; we can pick one that's a more honed-in homage.
57. Milwaukee Festivals
Clearly somebody just Googled "what does Milwaukee like" and landed on festivals. Is it technically something that speaks to Milwaukee? Sure. Is it a good sports team name? ABSOLUTELY NOT. What's next: the Milwaukee Pat McCurdy Concerts? It doesn't even make sense in my head. (Like, is each individual player a festival? A plural of already collective nouns?) Worst of all, it's just deeply generic sounding – not fierce or sharp or energetic or aggressive or even merely competive. I'd say this is the 2006 Martinifest of pro soccer team names – but at least that debacle was interesting!
56. Milwaukee Public
We've already got a Milwaukee Public Museum, a Milwaukee Public Market, Milwaukee Public Schools and a Milwaukee Public Library. I think we're all set on Milwaukee Public Things. I appreciate the tribute to these local institutions and the idea of paying homage to these gathering spaces, but I just can't stop imagining this scenario ...
"I'm checking out the Milwaukee Public."
"... the Milwaukee Public what?"
... playing out for its entire existence. Some overthought Marquette Gold nonsense.
55. Future Milwaukee
Again, this isn't a sports team name; this is a vaguely aspirational mayoral campaign slogan. Even if the name sounds fine now – and it doesn't – it'll sound ridiculous when the future soccer team becomes an actual present soccer team, just begging for an Abbott & Costello-esque comedy routine. Plus, this will be a real pro soccer team playing in a real pro soccer league, just a step below the MLS – so calling yourself "the future" kind of implies that you're a minor league squad, a stepping stone. Not a fan ... but I'll bump it up a few spots if it ends up being a stealth "Futurama" reference.
54. Virtue Milwaukee
"I wanted to go abstract with this one," says the explanation. "A club that is built on the morals and virtues of its fanbase." Well, succeeded with the abstract part! Sounding more like a hyperlocal venture capital group, all I keep hearing is the "Blades of Glory" quote: "No one knows what it means – but it's provocative! It gets the people going." Allow me to be the Jon Heder to your Will Ferrell, and shut this one down.
53. Milwaukee Fusion
For some reason, with this name option, I keep hearing Santa Claus' description of his violent new action movie on "I Think You Should Leave": "It's kind of a cosmic gumbo. It almost moves to the beat of jazz." I don't know; I like the concept of the soccer team representing a unifying force in the city, but "Fusion" seems too conceptual a word to get that entirely across and one that doesn't sound like a sports team name in the process either. In general, here's a good metric for this contest: Does it remind you of "San Diego Loyal SC"? If yes ... then vote no.
52. Old Milwaukee
Gosh, I wonder who their potential jersey sponsor could be!? The official explanation argues that this is a tribute to the history of the city ... but yeah no, it's beer. Everyone will be thinking beer. Also, for one of the newest franchises in the league and one of the newest pro sports teams in the city, calling it "Old" feels wrong. The explanation says it's based on European soccer name conventions, but that feels like borrowing unearned tradition. AND ON THAT NOTE ...
51. S.V. Milwaukee
As many overseas movie comedies have found out the hard way, some things just don't translate across the ocean well. S.V. means Sport Vereniging, or "sports association," in German – which makes sense for them to do in Germany, less so here where, even amongst devout soccer fans, S.V. as a name construct is a deep cut. If this new team's trying to be broadly accessible, this is a tough early move. But most of all, I just think we should ditch our Little Brother Syndome and come up with our own soccer traditions rather than trying to snag some foreign clubs' prestige and earned clout – like a mediocre remake of a foreign hit movie, with only some of the style and none of the substance. (*Glares at "Oldboy"*)
50. Milwaukee Athletic
Somebody in the branding department at the Milwaukee Athletic Club must've put this one up for the vote. Either that, or if this name wins, we're going to have ourselves a fun copyright lawsuit and, at best, general confusion about which Milwaukee Athletic Club you're supporting. Even putting all that aside, there's already a Hartford Athletic – and Milwaukee's got too much personality to roll with something this generic and beige.
49. Milwaukee Industrial
When one blandly descriptive adjective team name fails, why not try another descriptive adjective team name?! Milwaukee's not just athletic; it's also industrial! And why come up with a cool team name that would imply that with strength and creativity when you could just skip all that and bluntly call ourselves "Industrial" like we're a chapter in Milwaukee's section in the World Almanac. It's more unique than "Milwaukee Athletic" but it's no less generic and beige.
48. Milwaukee City
This has got real vibes of looking over at back-to-back Premier League champs Manchester City and thinking, "Well we gotta get us some of that." The actual reasoning given by Milwaukee Pro Soccer is ""Our City's name, front and center" ... which you can do that with the jersey and do something actually interesting and with personality with the name. You could do far worse – as its ranking ahead of at least ten other monikers would imply – but it's awfully boring.
47. Cruise MKE
So I'm seeing the logo as Tom Cruise in his signature Ethan Hunt dead-sprint ... oh, you mean Cruise like the ever-increasing number of cruise ships and boats in general gliding across our lakes and docking on our shores. That makes more sense – plus less Scientology. That's probably better ... not better enough to be good, mind, but better. "Cruise" is just too casual and blasé to be a cool soccer club name – though I do appreciate how easy it would make future headline-writing. ("Milwaukee cruises to victory," "San Antonio FC was on Cruise control this weekend," etc.)
46. Milwaukee Chill
The official explanation from the Milwaukee Pro Soccer Twitter account reads, "People always think of summers in MKE; why not think about the colder times?" FINALLY people will finally talk about winter in Milwaukee! That BETTER have been sarcasm – which I think would make this the first sarcastically named sports franchise? Not sure that's what records we should be going for – plus, save for hockey, normally when your team is cold, it means things are going bad. On the positive side, though, it's the only team name on this list that reminds me of Lemon Chill – and you'd be surprised what that's worth.
45. Milwaukee Gathering
I commend the well-intended concept behind this name – that the Iron District will serve as a city-wide gathering place, a phrase that's become common over recent years as Milwaukee tries to build more bridges in its community rather than stay divided, even popping up on Bucks jerseys. But ... a sports team name should sound like a sports team name, not a very nice farm-to-table restaurant that I've been meaning to try. There's a way to convey a united city without sounding this granola about it.
44. Milwaukee Makers
The word "maker" reminds me too much of "content," this vague and bland word designed to just mush all types of different specific crafts, talents and abilities under one generic umbrella. And Milwaukee's too interesting to be bland and generic! We can do something that's specific to Milwaukee ... or at least specific in any way, shape or form.
43. Prost Milwaukee
Obviously the TRUE official toast of Milwaukee is "414, Let's Have One More" ... but that's a little clumsy to fit as a team name. (414, Let's Kick One More?) So I'll allow the German heritage-honoring Prost here – because, after all, it does sound great. I suddenly want to open a restaurant or bar called Prost Milwaukee ... but maybe not so much a soccer club. The name almost sounds too polite, like you're welcoming and cheers-ing your opponents as opposed to facing off against them and trying to defeat them. Listen, I know Midwest Nice is a thing – but there's no reason to bring it excessively onto the pitch.
42. Milwaukee Wings
Bulldogs. Tigers. Eagles. Wildcats. These are names you give teams when you have no exciting ideas – and unfortunately Wings is slowly yet surely getting added to that list. It's fine. It's acceptable. But there's nothing special about it, or that identifiably screams Milwaukee. Maybe it's named after our winged art museum; maybe it's named after our many delicious chicken wing options. No matter the rationale, it's a bland name that would equally fit, like, Tulsa – whose already-existent USL Championship team's logo is a big-winged bird, so who needs that confusion.
41. Milwaukee Ride
My first instinct was bleeeeggh – it's just too bland and tame. But I must admit: After sitting with it and making the mental connection to the city's Harley culture and REALLY letting it marinate ... I still think it's blegh. But a more respectable blegh! A blegh I can appreciate – maybe even bordering on a meh.
40. Inter Milwaukee
(*Copy and pastes everything I said about S.V. Milwaukee*)
OK, but actually: Inter Milwaukee gets ranked a little higher because I like the sentiment behind "Inter" – this idea that it's a club whose players, fandom and community go beyond borders. But maybe, for a team that's spoken so much about being locally focused and Brew City fan-driven, we should focus on winning over Milwaukee before proclaiming global takeover. And again, it sure does feel again like glomming onto international teams' prestige rather than being patient and creating our own. Like I personally found out with skinny jeans, just because the cool kids in Milan and Miami can pull it off doesn't mean it's for everyone.
39. Milwaukee Unity
See, Milwaukee Gathering? This is better ... a little. It's the least of the Triple-U of Unified Soccer Units: United, Union and Unity – because though it's the most unique and rare of the bunch, it also sounds the most blandly aspirational and brand-approved too. I'm not saying it feels like a Cute Kitten Inspirational Quote Poster soccer team name ... but I'm not NOT saying that.
38. Milwaukee United
And even a little bit better! I like the sound of Milwaukee United, and the vibe of the city being together around this team. But the USL Championship already has two United teams – Loudoun and New Mexico – and Milwaukee United doesn't NOT qualify as a "we spend six months and a whole bracket vote to come up with THIS" selection.
37. AFC Milwaukee
Probably the best of the "we spent half a year to come up with a team name and just wound up with 'Milwaukee'" names. There aren't actually any other AFC teams in the USL Championship, so we'd be somewhat different in that regard – but maybe that's because AFC stands for "Association Football Club" in tribute to the U.K. calling the game Association Football when it was first organized. So again, it'd just be role-playing an overseas soccer team rather than founding Milwaukee's own thing. I vote nay!
36. Milwaukee Alliance
Alliance sounds DANGEROUSLY close to Confluence – but better. Like a local young working professionals group that I might actually follow on social media and maybe even attend a networking mixer on accident. However, it still sounds a little generic. The USL Championship has no shortage of blandly unified team names – Athletic, Rising, not one but two Uniteds. We don't need to add another. We can do better, and we can do Brew City-ier.
35. Milwaukee Anglers
I originally thought this was in reference to the bottom-dwelling fish with their own built-in lightbulbs that aren't even native anywhere close to Milwaukee or Wisconsin. But then I remembered that angler is also a word for a fisherman. So clearly I'm very outdoorsy and knowledgable about nature sports. (*hands in Wisconsin card*) No matter if it's about fishermen or weird glowing monster fish, Anglers is merely fine – not sounding aggressive nor strong nor all that interesting.
34. Milwaukee Lagers
"Milwaukee residents love their beer," says the official explanation. No argument here! I think we can find a beer-centric name that we love as much as beer, though. Lagers just sounds a little clumsy – it's a word that already can be a singular collective noun, so saying the plural keeps tripping me up, maybe as an homage to the Milwaukee Beers from "BASEketball"? It's just not the most stout name for a sports club. And on that note: Where's the ale representation? This team should unite the city, not divide it!
33. Milwaukee Blast
Not bad – but not really sure what it's deal is either. According to the Milwaukee Pro Soccer official explanation, the Blast will "bring back this name, but in a soccer context."
Bring ... back?
Well, would you look at that: Milwaukee, for not even a season but half a season, had an ABA basketball team called the Blast a little over a decade ago. And here I was thinking I was a Milwaukee sports fan! Considering they didn't even get through a full season, there's plenty of room to start a new Brew City Blast legacy there – though the indoor soccer team in town, the Milwaukee Wave, have regularly battled with the Baltimore Blast over the years, which would things a little funky. Plus, while we can all agree Milwaukee is indeed a blast – and it's a sharp, energetic name – it doesn't scream specifically Milwaukee. But hey, if it's not a prime candidate, at least it taught us something new! (*cue the The More You Know PSA graphic*)
32. Milwaukee Current
Current works in two ways, both as a reference to the city's water-adjacent importance and to the soccer team being the cool new thing in town, aka current. It doesn't work, however, in one very critical way: It sounds juuuust a bit too much like the Milwaukee Torrent soccer club already playing and established. And since they were in town first, they get to claim dibs on -rrent team names with water themes. Plus, considering the development's called the Iron District, I wonder if a water name is really the way to go. After all, water and iron kinda famously don't get along swimmingly.
31. Milwaukee Hogs
Obviously inspired by the city's motorcycle history and culture just down the street – and NOTHING ELSE, even if the official explanation almost sounds deliberately, bordering-on-deviously vague – Hogs makes a strong moniker for a football or hockey team. But for The Beautiful Game, where things are a little more finessed and focused on speed, precision and skill as opposed to brute toughness and messy aggression? The kind of snarling, in-the-muck image of a hog doesn't quite match. For a major league team, Hogs plays a little too minor-league cartoonish for me.
30. Milwaukee Longshoremen
Conceptually a good idea, paying tribute to the city's past port history and hard workers. Plus, I like the idea that it would be thematically OK for me to swear profusely at games. Our heckling game would be unmatched! Longshoremen, though, is just too cumbersome and, well, long of a name to really be catchy. We're on the right path, though.
29. Milwaukee Sturgeon
"Sturgeon are some meeean lookin' fish," reads the explanation given for Sturgeon. "We want to be feared by the rest of the league." (*Google searches sturgeon images*) OK, hell yeah, that's one gnarly fish!
Let's learn more about these spiny, skeletal guys. (*Googles some more*) Sweet, they can grow up to 12 or even 18 feet – that's damn big! I would not mess with that giant nightmare-looking fish! And they cause damage to boats! THESE FISH ARE METAL ... oh, but mostly because boats bump into them. Well, that's distinctly less metal. In fact, they're not particularly aggressive at all; they don't even have teeth. They are, scientifically speaking, toothless bottom-feeders. Well that's not great. Sounds like we need to introduce these guys to those new vengeful orcas – and until that happens, I'm going with a different name.
28. Goodland United
Are you familiar with the Uncanny Valley? The theory that the more human a special effect or robot looks, the more repulsive or wrong it appears to the eye? Aka the reason why "The Polar Express" is the most terrifying movie ever made? Goodland United is like that for Milwaukee Pro Soccer team names – so close to right that it becomes almost offensively wrong.
So full disclosure: The Good Land FC/SC is my favorite Milwaukee Pro Soccer name option – so much so that, during the fan proposal portion of this whole process, I submitted it. It's a great nod to serious Milwaukee history (the area's Native American origins and heritage) while simultaneously a great nod to playful Milwaukee pop culture, something that's both uniquely specific and locally embraced but recognizably Milwaukee to those outside the city too. Plus it just rolls off the tongue right ...
... As opposed to Goodland United, which sounds like knockoff Kirkland brand goods. Goodland should be two words – it's punchier – while the "The" makes it more pronounced and specific. And again, we're really all good with United team names in the USL right now. Goodland United is the wrong name – but it's got the right idea.
27. Fresh Coast
I've got no real problems with Fresh Coast FC. (Fresh Coast SC, however, sounds like a car accident of consonant sounds, it's an announciation nightmare.) I've just personally never really warmed to "Fresh Coast" as a Milwaukee nickname. It sounds ... brand-y, like somewhere a marketing firm was SUPER proud they came up with it. I always get real "I'm not a regular coast; I'm a COOL coast" vibes from it. Plus, it speaks to the entire Great Lakes freshwater region as opposed to more exclusively Milwaukee. There's a reason why it's never quite caught on locally and we've gravitated toward other nicknames – Brew City, The Good Land, Cream City – whenever given the chance. Stop trying to make fetch (coast) happen. (Why yes, I do happen to be watching "Mean Girls" while writing this entry.)
26. Milwaukee Hops
Hops lands in the no man's land middleground of somewhat cartoony produce names: It's not as offensively obvious and gratingly cliche as Milwaukee Cheese but also not quite as unique, fun or creative as Milwaukee Tall Boys. Hops would be fine – I just think for Milwaukee to have yet another beer-focused pro sports team name, it better be a top-shelf idea. Otherwise it might look like we have a problem or something!
25. 1846 Milwaukee
I'm actually somewhat amenable to the year-centric naming convention, one of Milwaukee's newest institutions serving as a cool proud tribute to the city's founding year and its history. You do, however, need a year that rolls off the tongue, and I'm not entirely sure 1846 is the catchiest number combo. But really, mostly I'm concerned about the horrifying potential of hearing my fellow Milwaukeeans say "Go Sixers!" for short.
24. Milwaukee Union
A classic soccer team name ... maybe too much so. After all, there are the two aforementioned Uniteds already in the USL, in Loudoun and New Mexico, as well as Union associated with Monterey Bay F.C. in the USL Championship and the Philadelphia Union in the MLS. And again, I don't want to have to share anything with those 4th-and-26, Harden-cheering, Process-indulging cheesesteak eaters. (Thanks for beating Tom Brady and the Patriots that one year, though; you were real ones for that.) Anyways, Union would be an acceptable name, just not a very inspired one.
23. Milwaukee Power
You know, the Brewers used to have a minor league affiliate team in West Virginia called the Power. Nice stadium tucked into Downtown Charleston, really nifty logos and uniforms – they even had a superfan who brought a toaster into the seats and every time an opposing player struck out, he would start a "You're TOAST!" chant and toss toasted broad slices into the crowd. Fun times ... anyways, what am I supposed to be talking about again?
Oh yeah, Milwaukee Power: Sure! It works! You can probably tell my level of enthusiasm from the fact that I spent a paragraph talking about a completely different team instead. It's strong and suitably POWERful (Get it? Because *hit in the head with thrown toaster*) but also a little on the bland side. Maybe the official explanation will help?
"Like the mitochondria of a cell, we'll be the new power of USL Championship"
Inspiring flashbacks to high school science class did not improve matters. Again, Power works as a sturdy blank slate of a sports team name; it just doesn't get the blood pumping.
22. Milwaukee Seagulls
Maybe I'm losing it from all these names, like some kind of sporting Stockholm Syndrome ... but Seagulls actually hits for me! I like that it alludes to our lakefront location without being obvious or overdone about it, and the gliding seagull brings both a little elegance and a little brash rough nature to it. I just like it – even if I tend to think of other locales when it comes to the gull and even if I don't even think it's the most notable type of Brew City bird. That would be the street turkey ... hold on a second: the Milwaukee Street Turkeys. IS IT TOO LATE TO SUBMIT A NEW NAME!?
21. Milwaukee Tundra
A cool name, quite literally, and one that fits the overwhelming green soccer pitch at the center of the stadium ... but congratulations on perpetually being the OTHER Wisconsin sports team people think of when they hear the word "Tundra." Sorry, but Green Bay's got dibs on any and all tundra terminology; you'd just be dooming yourself to live in a shadow.
414 was dangerously close to being a candidate for the Bermu-duh Triangle – but it gets a higher ranking because 414 at least took a little bit of creative brain power to come up with, and the area code's grown into something beyond just a three-number label but an actual moniker of pride around these parts. (And also I'd already come up with the Bermu-duh Triangle pun and having four names there would ruin it.) It wouldn't be the most creative name – especially considering Memphis already has an area code soccer team name in the USL Championship – but it would be signature Milwaukee without being simply JUST Milwaukee. Plus, 414 FC actually rolls off the tongue quite nicely.
19. Milwaukee Choppers
Unlike me on a motorcycle, Milwaukee Choppers actually looks and sounds alright! It's got the toughness of fellow Harley-themed moniker Hogs, but a little sharper and more fierce-sounding. The only problem: Aren't choppers a little more synonymous with California nowadays? Yes, Harley-Davidson crafted them, then and now – but thanks to reality TV, I feel like they've become a West Coast thing. Damn reality TV – and damn California, always taking credit for our signature stuff. (There's only ONE America's Dairyland and don't you forget it!) There's a decent argument for using this name to somewhat reclaim the chopper – but there are better names that are more effortlessly signature Milwaukee.
18. Cream City Strikers
Cream City sounds good – so much so, mayhaps we'll see it again on this very list. (OOOOH! ARTFUL TEASE!) And Strikers sounds good, a name with energy and aggression that's oddly not often used. So how come it sounds just a little worse when the two are put together? Cream City Strikers isn't bad, but honestly it sounds more like a grade school summer league team than a professional soccer organization. The name's origins, according to Milwaukee Pro Soccer's official explanation, came from a player-generated team in the FIFA video game – and on the FIFA video game it should stay. Good fake sports team name, less good real sports team name.
17. Forge United
Tough and tied into the Iron District development theme, Forge United sounds pretty dope ... save for two major issues. One, to paraphrase "The Social Network": Drop the "United," it's cleaner. Forge alone sounds tough and cool enough as is – and also, why would a singular forge need to be united? Anyways, on to issue number two: Forge would sound much better as either the name of the stadium or the fan section. We're on the right track, though!
16. Milwaukee Masons
I don't mind Masons! It's unique, got some power behind it and – best of all – would give me a regular excuse to make references to the Martin Short movie "Clifford."
I just ... don't get it?
The Milwaukee connection just doesn't click – and when I asked OnMilwaukee's resident history expert to see if there was some glaringly obvious Milwaukee knowledge I was missing here, he too was confuddled. Commenters have noted it's an homage to the Cream City brick and the city's blue-collar nature which ... sure, OK, but it takes a bit of a mental walk. Maybe we'll grow into it, and Masons will create its own place in Milwaukee history rather than overtly build off something else's legacy – which would actually be really cool in its own way. But I think we can pick a name that can do a bit of both.
15. Milwaukee Foundry
Much like Forge, Milwaukee Foundry – a tribute to the city's tough working attitude and tie-in to the Iron District name – actually sounds better as a stadium name as opposed to the team's name. "I'm going to the Foundry to watch the soccer game." Sounds awesome! "I'm going to root on the Foundry." Sounds clunky. We can find a better team name – though I'm not sure we're going to find a better name for the actual pitch. I want to go to the Foundry at Iron District!
14. Westown MKE
While it may be out of my top ten, Westown MKE definitely earns top marks for effort as the person who volunteered this name even made the logo crest already. And it's actually pretty cool too, well thought out and cleverly assembled with a nice color scheme. I keep having flashbacks, though, to when I covered an "Ask This Old House" film shoot in Bay View, and when the home owner said he lived in Bay View, the director yelled cut and said, "What's Bay View? Will anyone outside of here know what that means?" No one outside of Milwaukee will understand what Westown means – and even inside Milwaukee it doesn't automatically ping in the brain. And as a copy editor, I just know the "is it one or two Ts in Westown" question will plague me. So I'm not in love with the name – but I am in love with letting this guy to do the crest for whatever one we do pick.
It's like the Milwaukee Cheese if it wasn't insulting! It's still a little cliche – but it's also identifiably Milwaukee and Wisconsin in a way that we've embraced and taken pride in for a long time, and you could do some fun stuff with the "America's Dairyland" branding the state's used for eons. Dairyland FC even sounds pretty good – and it could taste even better if they teamed up with Dairyland burgers and custard on some sort of delicious branding deal. And as the person who began brokering this nonexistant agreement, I obviously deserve free food now. Everybody wins!
12. Milwaukee Robins
Is one team's trash another team's treasure? That's kind of the case with Milwaukee Robins, which – in another instance of team-naming democracy – was almost the name of the Milwaukee Bucks, winning the popular vote back when the team was still in the works. However, the electoral college – aka the judges – went with the silver-medal name Bucks instead, and that's why we're Fear the Deer as opposed to Dread the Beaked Head. All that history makes Robins intriguing as a name choice – plus the fact that it has a local hook as the state's official bird, sounds rather unique and catchy, and comes with an built-in attractive color scheme.
It's just ... not even Tippi Hedren could be afraid or intimidated by a robin. It's a happy little songbird, not a bird of aggression or power. Maybe we could say that Milwaukee Robins is in reference to Robin Yount instead and try to muscle up this moniker a bit? If we're going to be named after a mild, peaceful thrush, through, this isn't the worst way to go.
11. Lake Effect
I was REALLY into Lake Effect when it was first revealed as one of the 64 finalists. It's exceptionally unique and pretty Milwaukee-specific in a fun and creative way, plus the singular collective name sounds very soccer-ready. But I've cooled on Lake Effect – pun very much so intended. For one, I want my Milwaukee-based team to have Milwaukee in the name. (Or at the very least Brew City or Cream City.) Otherwise it borders on too vague. But the greater issue: Imagine what cheering on a team called Lake Effect would sound like. You can't, right? "Let's go Lake Effect!" "I'm going to the Lake Effect game." It just sounds ... off. It's a solid choice, and I appreciate the ambition and originality, but it's just a little too cumbersome to be a top-flight favorite.
10. Milwaukee Machine
Someone really thought "Milwaukee Industrial" was a better way to name a sports team in homage to our hard-laboring ways as opposed to Milwaukee Machine, which sounds infinitely cooler while achieving the same thing. It's unique but clean-sounding, it's got plenty of branding potential, it's a strong and muscular name that communicates power and while it could be more specific to Brew City, it still speaks to Milwaukee's hard-working manufacturing past and present. Now we just the new Rhode Island FC in the USL Championship to name itself the Rage so, when we play them, it'll be the Rage against the Machine.
9. Brew City
Well duh! We've got people busting out their thesaurus for "Confluence" and getting all abstract with "Virtue" and "Future" when the most popular nickname for the city, one embraced by locals for decades, is just sitting there ready to go.
Brew City FC would be an immediately strong name, definably Milwaukee with a dash of personality ... but while it'd be a fine choice, can I argue that it'd be JUUUUUST barely better than the blatantly obvious "Milwaukee FC" or "MKE FC" I railed on earlier this piece? We'd all be happy with Brew City FC; I just don't know if I'd be stirred or excited by it. Plus, there IS already a team in town with "Brew" in its name so maybe a little redundant. If only there was another [Blank] City nickname that fit, that'd been embraced by locals and was just a little more inventive and unique. Maybe even with a cool color referenced right there in the name! If only ...
8. Milwaukee Forge
There it is: We've Goldilocksed our way to a great metallic Milwaukee soccer team name! Forge United was too wordy; Foundry sounds more like a place than a team name. But Milwaukee Forge? Just right! It sounds tough and strong, it pays a perfect tribute to the hard-working Milwaukee culture as well as to the Iron District development's name, and it even low-key brings in some of the "unify the city" energy with forge's other definition of creating or cultivating a bond. It took a few attempts, but we forged a genuine contender out of the Forge theme in the end. (But OK, we got two different Forge attempts but only ONE clumsy variation on The Good Land? JUSTICE FOR THE GOOD LAND FC!)
7. Milwaukee Valor
It's a good sign for a team name if I start mentally imagining logos and uniforms for it before it's even been chosen. For some odd reason, Valor's had that effect on me.
The name itself is kind of awesome – sharp, strong, distinguished, unique. I'm not sure what about Milwaukee specifically qualifies as valorous ("We take pride in this City, especially on match days" as the official reasoning doesn't particularly answer my question) but it's a name that cuts, that brings some zip. And as I alluded, I can already see a sharp logo crest with a proud M with the V embedded in the middle. A lot of these names fall into a bland muck; Valor, for me, strikingly stands out.
6. Milwaukee Iron
As soon as it was announced as the Iron District, you knew this name concept would pop up at some point. Obviously Iron's a perfect tie-in with the development's theme, but it's also just a really good sports team name: strong, sturdy, blue-collar vibes that match the city, unique without being too kitschy or outlandish. It's like Power but with a little bit more of a detailed pop to it.
Iron's so good, unfortunately, that it's already been used here right here in town. In the late 2000s, after the Arena Football League's Milwaukee Mustangs shut down, the city rejoined Arena Football League operations as the Iron ... for two whole seasons before they dropped the short-lived rebranded name and became the Mustangs 2.0, before folding up shop in Brew City once again – this time for good. Kind of an ominous history for the moniker!
Even though it's maybe not the freshest name, however, Iron would be a formidable one – and my bet is that second time would be the charm.
5. Milwaukee Tall Boys
I like it! Or, as proper British football announcers would say, it's quality! It's not the most professional-sounding name on this list – but it's fun, it's a creative way to pay homage to our beer-loving ways, it's got some catchy zip to it, and it'll sound absolutely terrific when the Milwaukee Tall Boys face off against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Sounds like a party! Tall Boys would certainly be goofy (and I have a hard time imagining a logo that wouldn't be even more so) but for now, it lands just on the right side of ridiculous – though I will say in the battle of the kitschy beer-themed Milwaukee soccer names, Milwaukee Chasers would be better.
4. Milwaukee Northmen
A late arrival to the top five, I love the idea of Milwaukee claiming the title of king of the north. After all, when they join the USL Championship, Milwaukee would be the furthest north of all of the clubs – so why not pull a Toronto and lay claim to a whole direction? It's also just a cool name: a way of nodding to our frosty weather without being obvious or corny about it, strong and sturdy, with lots of options for branding and logo crest creation ideas, and an awesome reminder of that 2022 movie where they had a naked swordfight in an exploding volcano. Maybe Bjork and Willem Dafoe would show up too. But anyways, Northmen is creative, unique, strong and brand-ready – and when the team loses, we can get our revenge next game and say, "The North remembers." It's a name idea so good, it even makes losing better – that's how you know it's a winner.
3. Milwaukee Barons
Milwaukee Barons is one of the most predictable answers of the announced finalists thus far – but sometimes an answer is predictable because it's a damn good answer. "GoodFellas" is a boring answer to "What's the best Martin Scorsese movie?" Doesn't make it any less correct!
Barons ties into the city's proud brewing history and heritage but without being corny, obvious or overused. It sounds regal yet aggressive and powerful, a new name but with a sense of tradition behind it. It sounds good as just the plain American-style plural, but also would sound great as "Milwaukee Barons FC" or just "Barons FC." ("Barons SC" would admittedly be a mouthful.) And while it could be confusing on some level, I like giving a nod to the Milwaukee Barons soccer supporters group, one that's been pushing for years for a team like this to exist. Since Iron District announced this team, it's talked about listening to Milwaukee and the fans – what better way to prove it then by naming the team after a fan group, thereby simultaneously celebrating the city's culture with its sports culture, past and present and future all combined together into a single name.
2. Cream City
Again, sometimes the easy obvious answer is easy and obvious for a reason. You can gussy up a milkshake with all sorts of toppings, bells and whistles ... but at the end of the day, the best milkshake is often just a classic simple one that just tastes right.
Enter Cream City (with either FC or SC).
It's a signature Milwaukee nickname that, over recent years, in part thanks to the Bucks alternate uniforms, we've embraced more and more, one that pays homage to our Cream City brick and the hard work that built the city. Maybe it kind of sounds a little weird – but Milwaukee's a little weird, and it adds just a touch of personality to an otherwise straightforward name. Plus, as the official explanation tweet notes, cream is indeed a dope color – and thanks to the NBA's digital court ads, it's not like the Bucks can wear it anymore. Giannis' loss becomes this new soccer team's first win.
1. Milwaukee Brigade
When this option was first revealed, I plopped it in the middle of the pack without a second thought – unspectacular, but the best of the apparently extensive subcategory of non-specific singular collective nouns in this name bracket. But Brigade has really grown on me (clearly) which is definitely preferred over a name that hits great at first but wears thin after a while. (*cough Lake Effect cough*)
Brigade has got the aggressive, intimidating sound you want for a sports team. It sounds good on its own or with either an FC or SC at the end. And it would be pretty unique; only the Charleston Battery sounds remotely close to it in the USL or MLS, and there are no other notable Brigades in professional sports.
The only problem is that Brigade doesn't seem entirely Brew City-specific ... UNTIL you putz around on the internet for a bit and discover that famous Milwaukeean Rufus King led a Wisconsin-centric Union brigade during the Civil War, lauded for its ferocious, indomitable fighting approach. And the nickname of this brigade? THE IRON BRIGADE. I see what you've done here, potential Iron District soccer team name.
As a bonus, in addition to its dauntless reputation, the Iron Brigade was apparently stylish, wearing peculiar uniforms that earned them another nickname: The Black Hats. MY GOD, I CAN SEE THE LOGO, BRANDING AND (probably most exciting of all for Milwaukee Pro Soccer) TEAM STORE SHELVES AND MANNEQUINS NOW! You could call the fan section the Black Hats – or the Brew City Battalion if you want to go in a different but thematically tied direction. And you could incorporate the brigade's original logo into the new team's crest. And ... well, again, it's probably a good sign for a team name that my imagination's already taken the concept and run wild with it in all sorts of potential directions.
We still have almost half of the finalist names to announce – but right now, Milwaukee Brigade is Milwaukee's best foot forward for the new football club.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.