It's official: Major League Soccer has selected Philadelphia as team No. 16. The new club will begin play in 2010, and will mark MLS' sixth expansion team in the past four years, joining Chivas USA, Real Salt Lake, Toronto FC, San Jose and, in '09, Seattle.
Now the fun part begins. What should the new Philly team be called? The options are materializing fast and furious. Here are some of the possibilities:
Philadelphia 1776: Obviously a salute to the signing date of the Declaration of Independence in Philly, and a sly nod to German clubs with their founding dates in their names (e.g. Schalke 04, Hannover 96, etc.). This one may be my favorite ... and doesn't quite have as many pitfalls as the Dynamo's ill-fated original "Houston 1836" choice.
Philadelphia Athletic: Another Euro tie-in (i.e. Spain's Atlético Madrid, England's Wigan Athletic), but also a tip of the hat to history. Not making immediate sense to you? Think about where baseball's Oakland A's were founded 107 years ago. Perhaps my second-favorite -- but would the A's try to block the use of the name?
Philadelphia Freedom: Brings to mind Philly's World TeamTennis franchise ... and the annoying song Elton John was actually commissioned to write for the team by Billie Jean King. Not Reg's best moment. And a horrible choice.
Philadelphia Independence FC: Classy and simple, but can you name a sports team after an inalienable right?
What do you think the new team should be called?