If this past weekend’s rumors are true, and they seem like they are, we can expect an announcement of a new MLS franchise in Atlanta in the coming weeks. We have heard for weeks that Arthur Blank and the league were close to an agreement, and now it seems that the dream that many native Atlantans, including myself, had when the league started in 1993 will come to fruition. But what will the team be named? Allow me to make a suggestion.
Major League Soccer has shown a penchant for naming expansion or re-branding teams after European clubs. It is kind of silly. Real Salt Lake, Sporting Kansas City, even FC Dallas are names that seem more like affectations, like that guy you knew in college that only listened to Icelandic metal. But if the league wants to continue this trend, it has an opportunity to do so in Atlanta with a name that actually relates to the city: Locomotive Atlanta.
There are several teams, mostly in eastern Europe, that carry the “Locomotiv” name. Most of them were made up of members of the railroad union or had connections to the rail industry. Atlanta was founded as a rail city. It’s original name, Terminus, reflects that history, and has already been adopted by the first major supporters group for Atlanta’s franchise, Terminus Legion. The former marker for the end of the Western and Atlantic Railroad, the “Zero Mile” marker, is still proudly displayed downtown. “Zero Mile” would be an awesome name for a supporters section. And Locomotive Atlanta could be shortened to LocoATL, which is just cool. And with a large rail presence currently in the city in Norfolk Southern, CSX, and Amtrak, as well as a new stadium that will be easily accessible by rail, the environment is right for corporate partnership that actually relates to the team.
I’m so excited that Atlanta will finally have top-tier professional soccer. I think Locomotive Atlanta would be an awesome name for our new team. Even if it isn’t, hopefully it gets people thinking about ways to make the team reflect to the essence of our city.