MLS Philadelphia’s Nickname to be Union


The MLS Expansion team in Philadelphia finally has a name.

Major League Soccer's 16th team will be named the Philadelphia Union, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Friday. Union beat out four other proposed nicknames, including AC Philadelphia and Philadelphia City.

For those who recall, SBI's informal poll on choosing a Philadelphia nickname back in January drew more than 3,800 votes and saw Philadelphia City (30 percent) edge out both AC Philadelphia (27 percent) and Philadelphia Union (26 percent).

Philadelphia Union will officially unveil its new team name, logo and colors on Monday at a ceremony at Philadelphia City Hall.

My initial thoughts? The logo and colors are great and while I wasn't a fan of Union out of the four finalists, I don't think it's terrible. I also like the idea of the team informally adopting "The Snakes" as a nickname.

What do you think of the name? Should Philly have gone with AC or SC? Like the logo? Just glad I won't have to run that tired photo of the shovel?

Share your thoughts on Philadelphia's nickname and logo below.

This entry was posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Philadelphia Union. Bookmark the permalink.

122 Responses to MLS Philadelphia’s Nickname to be Union

  1. engel says:

    I like it, congrats Philly.

  2. kahlva says:

    Looks great. First class.

  3. Steve says:

    Looks amazing. I love the snake – An homage to the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag (Gadsten Flag) that the first Marines (formed in Philly) marched under.

    That flag was designed to build on Ben Franklin’s famous political cartoon, “Join, or Die”. The Union has formed – BEWARE!

    Love it.

  4. Tom says:

    Wow, name your team after the very thing that ruined Philadelphia. Nice move Philly.

  5. dena says:

    At least you aren’t named after an energy drink. I would’ve liked AC Philadelphia instead.

  6. smits says:

    So now there is a Union and a United within driving distance… alright I guess.

    Did they consult the SOB’s about this desission or just say “screw it, it’s our team we’ll do what we want”?

  7. Willardo DuPont says:

    Like the name, badge and colors. Good for Philly!

  8. older& wiser says:

    Plus, now we’ll be able to say “PU” when they really stink things up.

  9. Aljarov says:

    Not the best nor worst. Fair enough.

    Obviously MLS gaffed by accidentally leaking it. Muppetts!

  10. Greifie says:

    Sure beats Real Philadelphia. I like it. They could have done a lot worse. AC, City and SC would have worked for me as well.

  11. Jeremy says:

    Well done. I can get used to it.

  12. john.q says:

    looks great! yea definately beats red bull (im a red bull supporter btw), real salt lake, chivas and fc dallas.

  13. Trex says:

    I really like the logo.

  14. Zico says:

    I wonder if their kits will have that Barca/Spanish gold??

  15. EdTheRed says:

    Could’ve gone with “Union Philadelphia” if they’d really wanted that pseudo-Euro flavor.

  16. sublicon says:

    Could’ve gone with Rocky instead of a Snake.

  17. Steve says:

    I like it and like the fact that it has ties to the city’s history and role in the forming of our country versus ties to clubs in Europe.

  18. BCC says:

    I think it’s ridiculous, especially given some of the negative connotations of the term “union.” Why not pick a team name that has more general appeal.

    I have never figured out why MLS teams have such a hard time coming up with decent names.

  19. DWE4 says:

    Love it. Nice job.

  20. MVK says:

    I like it a lot

    im jealous being a Wizards supporter, our name and badge is absolute crap

    I am glad they didnt go with a faux-euro name like AC or City, that stuff just seems really forced and silly; its like a fancy dress party (google if your lost on reference)

  21. Eric K says:

    I could’ve gone with another name (I liked Philadelphia Athletic better) but the snake is really cool. Not just the possible nicknames – the Snakes, the Cobras – but the possible fan groups. My brother suggested a few – COBRA (GI Joe), Cobra Kai (Karate Kid), the Purple Cobras (Dodgeball – ‘ha ha sssssss!’).

  22. RS says:

    I find it hilarious that “Rocky” is always brought up when talking about Philadelphia. I mean the dude wasn’t even real! Don’t get me wrong…I liked the movies and all (except V of course) but I always find it funny that Rocky is what they hang their hat on and he is only a FICTIONAL movie character.

    That being said…I like the choice of Union. There were many other bad choices out there compared to Union.

  23. BlueWhiteLion says:

    I was one of the 26% who picked Union. I think it stands out way more than AC, City, etc. Logo is great and colors are pretty decent. Logo is fantastic, actually.

    Union is also a name of a storied former eastern block club, still existing today:
    “1st FC Union Berlin.”

    We’re commies now . . . :)

  24. Section133 says:


    Now we can sing the “Whacking Day” ballad from the Simpsons when the visit us in Harrison.

    link to

  25. Jane says:

    I can hear it now….”Union of the Snake” by Duran Duran is their theme song.

  26. elmatador says:

    Just glad you won’t have to run that tired photo of the shovel

  27. MVK says:

    a good supporter group name would be “Venom”

  28. Southern says:

    Would Philadelphia 1776 have been too much like the Sixers?

  29. K1p says:

    As owner of “Forney Union” in the SBI division of the MLS fantasy league, I congratulate Philly. I hope they do better than me.

  30. Hopper says:

    I think it works, but the big question is: How will this go over with the everyday cheesesteak-eatin’ Philly sports fan? I just want to see soccer do well there, or at least draw more fans than the Red Bulls do.

  31. Cam says:

    No matter what it was going to be, people were going to bitch about it.

    I think it’s fits the city perfectly. A tribute to one of our most famous founding fathers is a great thing. BCC, you obviously don’t know the history of Unions, so your statement holds no water. They’re not named Philadelphia UAW…

    I love the shield. It’s the best looking one in MLS.

  32. Cody says:

    logo is sick

  33. Felix says:

    I’m not crazy about the name, but I like it better than corny names like the Wizards. I prefer more traditional football names, but some of the nicknames that have some tie into the city’s history or identity (Earthquakes, Sounders, Fire, Galaxy) I don’t mind as well.

  34. dolan says:


    “some of the negative connotations of the word union.”

    Easily one of the most moronic statements I’ve read on here in a long time, and that’s saying a lot. Turn off Fox News and get a clue buddy.

  35. I have to say I am digging the badge and logo. It is a good link to history and given the history of soccer in Philly, it is not a bad idea.

    The “PU” comment is pretty funny and I can see it being used. But I think “the snakes” will become a more informal name.

  36. Brandon says:

    I’m a fan of the name and the logo looks great. DC now has a real local rival now.

  37. Cindy says:

    i think the crest and colors are great, and i can learn to like the name [mostly because i love Philly]. here’s hoping they do well!

  38. A.S. says:

    Nice logo.

    The name is acceptable. At least it doesn’t have the moronic “FC”.

  39. Brandon says:

    Whoops, realized how some might take that. That’s not a dig at the Redbulls, I was talking more in regards to proximity.

  40. EDB says:

    I like it.. makes me wonder about the unis..

  41. brant says:

    I like it – distinctly American, but with a soccer ‘feel’ to it. Totally cool with it.

  42. Michael K. says:

    “I think it’s ridiculous, especially given some of the negative connotations of the term “union.””

    Asinine, to say the least.

    That’s a solid team name, and a great badge. It must be nice.

  43. Nick says:

    Come on you Snakes!

  44. Berlin says:

    Great for the game in this country. Can’t wait for the dirty snakes to come to Houston.

  45. Nats says:

    The logo is fantastic. The name is not bad. I also like it because they’re not trying to be like European teams. This is America and this is our league, which one day we hope will be better than all those Euro slobs.
    I agree with the previous comment about the Wizards. Their logo is crap. MLS needs to pay attention to these things if the league is going to be taken seriously.

  46. PCFC says:

    I’m sorry. Philadelphia Union is in no way a name I would’ve liked. With that said, I see it as having potential for history and ringing off the tongue like Timbers or Rowdies or other names that have American history. It just needs to establish itself, and develop a true nickname.

    Nonetheless, The Gadsden flag is the USMNT’s flag.

    “Same ol’ Philly! Always stealing!”

  47. Matt says:

    Logo good. Name lame.

    But I am a Red Bulls fan so I can’t really talk.

  48. CSD says:

    Unfortunate that the Red Bulls will be out of Giant Stadium for the opening game next season. The Union could play their first match on Hoffa’s grave that would be classic.

    I can’t wait until Atlanta rumors restart about an expansion team. Atlanta Dixie FC or Atlanta Confederation FC would make for a great rivalry :)

  49. CSD says:

    Seriously I like it. Great logo, nice name with good history behind it and the colors should look very good.

  50. Ryan says:

    Looks like Inter Milan’s secondary logo. Hope they explain what the 13 stars represent (original states?).

  51. William the Terror says:

    Actually, both the logo and the name are perfect matches given the history involved. The snake is intended to evoke the Revolutionary War “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, which was known as the First Union Jack. Good job.

  52. ace says:

    nice logo… undeserving of such a crappy city.

  53. Count of Monte Fisto says:

    don’t really have much use for a city that boos santa claus and whose two greatest sports heroes are fictional deadbeat boxer anda special teams scrub who made his team as a publicity stunt………..

  54. Jim says:

    Really like it. I think the “Union” name is a pretty clever play on traditional European names with a distinctly Philly/American historical idea. I think Philadelphia Athletic would have been awesome, though, again for the same reasons.

    And if you are trying to connect to the blue-collar crowd, probably not the worst name out there, either.

    Bob, BCC, I hope you enjoy your 7-year-old’s 14 hour shift in the coal mine this Sunday.

  55. rednow.red4ever says:

    @ BCC: What negative connotation of the word “union”? Is it the 8-hour work day they brought you, or the 5-day work week? Darn them!

    Of course you could be a confederate, then I spose it makes some sense.

  56. SOBACES09 says:

    Phili Union is ACES.

    This logo beats the crap out of some badge with a stupid space needle. And the colors are better (not to mention the fans).

    And the stars – we’re just setting our expectations high and expecting we’ll capture 13 trophies in short order.

  57. Jim says:

    Also, I am pretty sure Philly laid claim to the Gadsden flag 250 years before the USMNT, though the stars are questionable regardless of historical relevance.

  58. Boring…

    Should have went with something like Philly Freedom.

    Had an instant song they could have sang in the stands.

  59. 505anthony says:

    That’s a proper name. But their colors–are they teal and sky blue? Really? Do they not know the dangers of a brown kit?

  60. attenborough says:

    Why would anyone want AC Philadelphia? Do you actually speak Italian? How often do you refer to ‘soccer’ as ‘calcio’? Never? I thought so.

  61. rke says:

    Too bad they’re not going with Slytherin green.

    Hey, aren’t you supposed to earn the stars?

  62. Zoti says:

    As a Red Bull fan I am envious. Talk about a team getting it right a year before they’re even supposed to start playing.

    We’re ahead by 14 years in NY and are still not getting right.

    Damn you Austrian Energy Drink

  63. Mark says:

    I think Union is a good choice. Too many MLS teams have absolutely wretched names including Real Sal Lake, NY Red Bulls, and FC Dallas. These are very poor attempts at making MLS European-like. Unfortunately we are not European. Be original and be American. If you like the FC or AC theme, then call it SC for “soccer club,” since that is what we call the game over here. Union is a good name because it doesn’t copy another European club, but has a traditional soccer sensibility. My only contention with it is that it is very close to United, but nothing is perfect. City would have also been a good choice.

  64. TheKingofNorway says:

    Love it. First class all the way. Philly phans should be proud.

  65. Chris says:

    you clowns, stars for championships generally (the general rule, there are a few exceptions) go above the crest! These stars are a completely different symbol. And yes, the 13 stars represent the original 13 colonies, how is it possible that people miss that? And of course we’re not stealing the (reasonably sweet) nike USMNT campaign, the gadsden’s flag and the snake as a symbol of the US were popularized in Philly (the original snake analogy credited to Ben Franklin, look it up). Also, what about the crest makes you think they’re referencing labor unions? I think they’re actually trying to avoid that.

  66. Chrös says:

    I liked Athletic from the start, but that is probably as much to do with subconsciously already knowing the name.

    Great choice overall. Best of the four. As has been said: A true soccer name that is also distinctly American.

  67. Ulrich says:

    Wow, a lot of people posting on this thread do not have a clue about history of the USA….

    Union – represents the forming of the Union between 13 original colonies when they declared their independence from England.

    the 13 Stars – the 13 original colonies.

    the Snake – from Ben Franklin’s political cartoon Join or Die, that dealt with the importance of colonial unity (unity = union).

    Philadelphia was also the first capital of the United States (before moving to DC), so all of these symbols are aptly used since Philly was the epicenter of the new nation.

  68. Wispy says:

    I like it a lot. And I think it’s great that the logo colors are close enough to the Sons of Ben colors that those guys don’t have to run out and buy all new scarves and gear. In an effort to make more money, the team could have really screwed the Sons of Ben and gone with, like, green and red.

  69. meh says:

    Logo: amazing
    Name: would be good if there wasn’t a United just down the street.

  70. SF Dave says:

    Personnaly, I liked “Philadelphia Bros”, you know, city of brotherly love.

  71. Brett says:

    I think the logo and name are both great. Congrats on Philly for doing something a little different from the rest of the league and something with a nod to the city’s history.

  72. xjas says:

    The logo so so. The name horrible and ridiculous

  73. Turtle says:

    AC = Athletic club. Are they going to have any other teams in other sports? SC = Sports club. Same question. If not competing in other sports those are not valid choices. (I voted for City)

    This is a great name with meaning and the logo is cool even if it’s already in use by USMNT. Philly, Boston and maybe even NY are representative cities of the birth of America. They can use whatever colonial/revolutionary symbols they want.

  74. Barry Jive and His Uptown Five says:


    Some people have very positive views of the word “union”. So gfys.

  75. Robert says:

    I would have preferred City better. Union is cool, though. Snakes are pretty awesome and the logo is a nice Euro-style logo with historical connotations. Brownish gold for their jersey’s… something like Club America?
    PU is hilarious, I agree.

  76. casadelqueso says:

    I like the logo a lot, and the name would be great if there wasn’t another team named “United” right down I-95.

  77. BlueWhiteLion says:

    Just glad you won’t have to run that tired photo of the shovel Posted by: elmatador | May 08, 2009 at 11:01 AM

    AMEN to that!

  78. MVK says:

    WTF, no wiki page for this team? get with it ppl, one should already be up explaining the symbolism of hte badge etc… People are paid to do this kinda stuff, get with it

  79. Tom from Syracuse says:

    as a resident of Philly I’m so EFFING pumped about this team. Great logo design… name? ehh… but who cares. WE HAVE AN MLS TEAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  80. BlueWhiteLion says:

    Personnaly, I liked “Philadelphia Bros”, you know, city of brotherly love.

    Posted by: SF Dave | May 08, 2009 at 12:21 PM

    Just need to change the “o” to “a” and then we have a fight on our hands. . . .

  81. Tony says:

    Love to see them pulling old philadelphia iconography into the team identity (snake and join or die) great stuff in my opinion
    the logo is top notch except for the stupid “union” font
    the name is pretty “meh” but hey at least the colors arent red and blue right?

  82. James says:

    Hey, They put statues of that fitional character up in the city… They have to deal with it 😉

  83. yankiboy says:

    I know that I support some clubs with lame names but “Union” is a pretty sorry name.

    Seriously. The freaking Philadelphia Soul and Freedom had better names. It sounds too Arena League and Tennis team-ish.

    Someplace better than Miami Fusion and San Jose Clash but still subpar.

    Logo, while rehashed is way better than that side from Columbus that is temporarily holding on to the MLS title though.

    I just think that that those SOB’s deserved better. Oh, well. We all have a lot of time to start thinking of wisecracks…

  84. Steve Jolley's Tinker. says:

    Considering that there are currently two unions who are taking a break from fighting with management to sue each other (link to, you don’t have to be Karl Rove to be skeptical of the efficacy of labor unions at times. They have done good things and dumb things, just like many other organizations (catholic church comes to mind).

    I think you can say ‘union’ without a negative connotation since it’s a sports team you are talking about, but, not everyone feels that way, and there are valid pro/con feelings about them on both sides.

    Duran Duran aside, it’s a good name (not a company, Yay!), a good badge, let’s move on to them finishing last in the East in 2010…

  85. Rekro says:

    The logo looks great, I wouldve still prefered AC Philadelphia, but, I guess Union is alright too.

  86. TCompton says:

    I like it. The name is a little strange, but matching Philadelphia with anything is tough. At least they kept it City focused and not something like Real Salt Lake (Royal? Really? Maybe just for the Elders of the Morman faith).

    The Snakes as an informal nickname is pretty cool.

    I still think the Sons of Ben should have Wild Turkey as their official tailgate beverage as Ben Franklin was in favor of using the Turkey as the symbol of America instead of the Eagle.

  87. huricano says:

    I think its good, much better than the Red Bulls.

  88. phath0m says:

    as a sounders fan i don’t really have much to complain about but the zolos are going to have a pretty sweet badge… better than ours for sure and probably the best in the league in my opinion. i hope they wear brown for one of their kits… that would be SO cool, i know many will disagree but what can i say other than you are wrong.

    i wouldn’t trade my iconic rave green for anything though, the sounders just need to swap out the blue for dark grey and i’ll be happy.

  89. KCB says:

    P.U. = Not Good

    Union = Not Bad

    Crest = Very Nice!

    Hope those SoBs in Philly are happy! 😉

  90. Steve T. says:

    Jesus Christ…everyone please reread Ulrich’s post. “Union” has nothing to do with worker’s unions!

    Love the badge btw

  91. BK says:

    Wow, name your team after the very thing that ruined Philadelphia. Nice move Philly.

    Posted by: Tom | May 08, 2009 at 10:23 AM


  92. Mike Caramba says:

    Like the badge. Name’s not too good, but I’m of the opinion that AC and City would have been downright embarrassing. There were no quality choices, if you ask me…

  93. jpc says:

    its perfect. Philly was the birthplace of the union, so its only fitting… Thank god they didn’t Kowtow to the corny nicknames like City, or AC Philly, which have no relevance to the cities history, and would only be a cheap attempt to make MLS more European… I’m not sure about the snake to be honest, I love it as a US national team symbol w/ the whole don’t tread on me logo, but It doesn’t necessarily fit w/ the “Union” theme. But that’s a small quarrel I have. Overall, good choice

  94. jpc says:

    I didn’t know the snake was a marine thing, nevermind, it makes sense to me now

  95. jpc says:

    I really think “sons of ben” would have been a dope nickname. And I don’t think the supporter group would’ve minded

  96. Matt says:

    I thought it was a great name, until one wag earlier in the comments linked it to Duran Duran’s “Union of the Snake”. That’s all I’ll think about now!. Hilarious…and painful at the same time.

  97. Bob says:

    I can see the name growing on people. As long as Philly fans dodged another FC, City, or AC I’m happy. I was waiting for the management to completely botch the logo too, but they did a really nice job. Here’s a litmus test to consider: if you think the whole or part (ie. the snake)of the logo would look good on a fitted cap, its a good one.

    Looking forward to what the jerseys will look like.

  98. BCC says:

    HAHA, love the comments. Perhaps some of you pro-union guys should try to run a large corporation some day. Believe me, I understand the glorious history of unionization and the labor movement, but this is 2009. Labor unions have become just like the entities they once found it necessary to combat. They are, for lack of a better term, parasitic. In the case of GM and the UAW, the parasite killed the host. Yay, let’s name a soccer team the Union.

    At some point, the team is going to attempt to sell luxury boxes to big, evil corporations. Maybe some of those malevolent CEOs would rather spend the cash on the 76ers than have to look at the word “union” all the time. Who knows.

    The potential connotations aside, it’s a stupid name. It’s a play on “united” — how original.

  99. BCC says:

    @ Steve T and others:

    From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

    ” . . . the team hearkens to the city’s part in the nation’s founding and to the area’s historic role in the American labor movement.”

    Words have many meanings . . .

  100. Adam M. says:

    Philly did a really great job with this. The name is appropriately symbolic, unique enough, and sure to inspire many “union” songs. The colors, blue and gold, are the colors on Philadelphia’s flag. The circle badge is reminiscent of Inter Milan without ripping them off and has the benefit of fitting Philadelphia’s long name into it. The snake is pure genius, on its own and particularly as part of the shield within the circle. Well done. Now all they need are some players.

  101. cool crest…not a big union fan

  102. metrostar 4 life says:

    ehhh. Philadelphia City or Philadelphia Athletic were my 2 favorite choices. I don’t really like the logo colors, I don’t know why it just doesn’t seem philadelphia-ish. The snake is good because of its historic representation. I like the SOB logo, I think they should have taken those colors and formed something like that.

  103. Union is not my favorite, but I never liked any of the other choices any better. Philadelphia Independence FC would have been a great name.

    But I love the logo and colors. Awesome.

  104. If you are interested in history, this may clear up Philly’s choices. link to

  105. Jimmy Bobo says:

    I voted for the “Union” name when it was floated here on SBI some months ago. I really do think it references Philly’s roots in the shaping of our country. The logo is great, as well. Barca used to have some khaki uniforms some years ago and I hope that the Union will bring those back. All in all, well done.

  106. The Dirty Kenso says:

    I’m from Philly and look forward to the games. The name isn’t great, but I think they nailed the logo and the kits should be sweet too.

    I a tee shirt with PHILLY Soccer and the snake wiould be cool.

    Go snakes!!!

  107. The Dirty Kenso says:

    Join or Die!

  108. GunneRR says:

    Love it! Tired of the phony names, like RSL.
    Nice to have another local rival for RBNY.

  109. Gary says:

    I’m still digesting this, but, is this the BEST LOGO in AMERICAN SPORTS?

    What team has a better logo??

    The Yankees?

    Red Wings?

    Red Sox?

  110. jpc says:

    Jesus, stop it w/ the pro or anti Union political views. The cities history is what it is. Its a nickname, all you can ask for is that it accurately represents the cities history. “Union” does represent Philly, whether you think its “labor union” or “union” as in the original construction of our nation. Their both accurate and representative, so shut up w/ your views, nobody cares

  111. Scott A says:


  112. rb says:

    Well said jpc. A lot of people say similar things about the Fire’s name.

    With regards to the logo, here are Inter Milan’s previous logos searched on Google Images: link to

    Someone earlier in the blog mentioned the similarities and I find this really intriguing. The logo is so in tune with Philadelphia’s history that it can’t be called a copy, but it’s still interesting.

  113. Ski Fast! says:

    I’d rather us, the Philly supporters, prop up the nickname “Zolos” for the team rather than “Snakes.”

  114. PetedeLA says:

    It sounds a lot better when you just say, “Philly Union”.

    I hope no one ever uses ‘AC’. A new country needs new names. It would also be kind of a joke when you consider that the real teams with “AC” or even “SC” (in German) really started as simple men’s athletic clubs or sport clubs, then evolved into more soccer-oriented professional institutions.

  115. Redbullsdefensesucks says:

    The colors are based on the Philadelphia flag which the Sons of Ben adopted. I like the name. I wish the following teams had these names:
    Salt lake city SC
    SC Dallas
    New York Metros (with the Red Bull logo as their sponsor. Europeans never get it right here)

  116. andy says:

    I like it. I’m glad we didn’t go w/ a stupid Euro rip off name like “AC” or “City”. MLS needs to be our own brand. There are ways to connect to the global football community w/out ripping off names (Real Salt Lake….cough cough)

  117. John says:


    Now we can sing the “Whacking Day” ballad from the Simpsons when the visit us in Harrison.

    link to

    Posted by: Section133 | May 08, 2009 at 11:00 AM

    Nice! More win than I can comprehend.

  118. Brokenbil says:

    Great logo! The team name reminds me of the old TV commercial jingle “Look for the Union Label.”

  119. Mike says:

    Philadelphia City would have been the dumbest name in MLS. You deserve the name “City” if you play in the city of your name. If they went with City, it would have to be Chester City to make ANY sense.

  120. Toronto FC Fan says:

    Philadelphia Athletic would have paid homage to the old baseball team. Independence would have been an interesting choice as well.

    At first look the Union name seemed odd, but it’s starting to grow on me. Especially as I see the symbolism behind it.

    About the only tweak I would consider is bringing the colors more along the lines of those for the Sons of Ben. Either way, they will be welcomed at Fortress BMO next season.

  121. Elmer says:

    I would have preferred AC Philadelphia or Philadelphia Athletic, but I love the logo/colors.

  122. G says:

    Very cool.

    I like the Blue. I like that it’s not a faux European name. I love the snake. It’s by far the best marketing for the USMNT. I wonder how Nike will feel about it, but since they just stole it anyway, I don’t think they’ll have much to complain about.