One of the biggest difference between American sports teams and professional soccer teams around the world is also one of the simplest.
The teams don’t have nicknames.
Outside of Major League Soccer, whose teams follow the lead of professional teams in Europe and South America, that hardly ever happens in the United States.
It’s the Golden State Warriors, not the Golden State Basketball Club or BC Golden State.
It’s the New England Patriots, not the New England Football Club.
And just imagine if Babe Ruth or Derek Jeter played for BC New York or the New York Baseball Club instead of the New York Yankees. It’s strange to even think about, but that’s exactly how it works in world club soccer – at least officially.
Unofficially, however, it’s a bit different. Many teams around the world have nicknames that have been embraced by their diehard fans. Arsenal, from the English Premier League and one of the most popular teams in the world, is a classic example. Their fans call them The Gunners, but you would never find the team referring to itself as the Arsenal Gunners. They’re simply Arsenal FC or Arsenal Football Club.
Below is a list of teams from around the world and their unofficial nicknames, so you can sound like an insider the next time you speak with someone about them. For some of the teams, the reasons for the moniker will be obvious. For others, a little explanation might be necessary.
Note: Obviously this is not a complete list. We will add to it over time. (Got a suggestion? Email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
England’s Premier League
Leicester City: Foxes
Manchester United: Red Devils
Swansea City: Swans
Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs
Bayern Munich: Die Roten (The Reds); also known as Der FCB or FC Hollywood
Borussia Dortmund: Die Schwarzegelben (The Black and Yellow)
Italy’s Serie A
Juventus: La Vecchia Signora (The Old Lady)
Roma: I Lupi (The Wolves)
The Netherlands’ Eredivisie
Ajax Amsterdam: Godenzonen (Sons Of The Gods)
Spain’s La Liga
Atletico Madrid: Los Colchoneros (The Mattress Makers)
FC Barcelona: Els Blaugrana (The Scarlet And Blue)
Real Madrid: Los Blancos (The Whites)
Many teams even have multiple nicknames. For example, Real Madrid is known as Los Blancos, but they are also known as Los Merengues (Meringues) and Los Vikingos (The Vikings).
It’s not just club teams that have unofficial nicknames. Countries’ national teams have monikers as well. Some of the best known names include:
National Teams From Around The World
Argentina: La Albiceleste (The White and Sky Blue)
Australia: The Socceroos
Brazil: Selecao (The Selection)
Germany; Die Mannschaft (The Team)
Italy: Azurri (The Blues)
Mexico: El Tri (Or El Tricolor — The Three Colors, as in the three colors on the Mexican flag)
Nigeria: The Super Eagles
Which of these is your most or least favorite? Which nicknames have I left out? Email me at email@example.com. You can also follow us at soccer-family on Snapchat or at the SoccerFamily.soccer Facebook page.