Soccer Writer's Style Guide

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North America's first and only soccer-specific style guide

Team names

When writing articles, try to use full team names on first reference; city names and team nicknames may be used thereafter. In blurbs, video blurbs, captions, headlines and subheads, freely use either full team names, city names, team nicknames or official acronyms.

Write ALL team names as plural nouns, whether writing out nicknames or city names. This is contrary to AP style but similar to international wires.

The following guide identifies all acceptable MLS team names.

Chicago Fire

  • the Chicago Fire; Chicago; the Fire
  • Example: The Chicago Fire are looking to extend their unbeaten streak. Chicago have not beaten Colorado in four outings. The Fire were back in action last week after a bye.

Chivas USA

  • Chivas USA; Chivas; the Goats, the Red-and-White (use this nickname sparingly on second reference only, and always hyphenate)

Colorado Rapids

  • the Colorado Rapids; Colorado; the Rapids

Columbus Crew

  • the Columbus Crew; Columbus; the Crew; the Black-and-Gold (use sparingly and hyphenate)

D.C. United

  • D.C. United (never write the D.C. United. Also, always use periods when writing the full team name, except in headlines); D.C. (with periods); United (never write the United); the Black-and-Red (use sparingly and hyphenate)

FC Dallas

  • FC Dallas (notice there are no periods in FC); Dallas; FCD (no periods)
  • Note the Hoops is not an official nickname.

Houston Dynamo

  • the Houston Dynamo; Houston; the Dynamo

LA Galaxy

  • the LA Galaxy; LA (no periods); the Galaxy
  • Note: The official team name is the LA Galaxy, not the Los Angeles Galaxy. The full city name was dropped when the franchise rebranded in 2007.
  • Note: Do not use periods in LA when referring to the Galaxy. However, use them when identifying the actual city.

New England Revolution

  • the New England Revolution; New England; the Revolution; the Revs

Montreal Impact

  • the Montreal Impact; Montreal; the Impact
  • Note: Generally, write Impact Montreal only in French-language articles. The club’s full name in French is Impact de Montréal.

New York Red Bulls

  • the New York Red Bulls; New York; NY (no periods); the Red Bulls; Red Bull New York
  • Note: Generally, use Red Bull New York, or RBNY on second reference, only when referring to the organization.

Philadelphia Union

  • the Philadelphia Union; Philadelphia; the Union

Portland Timbers

  • the Portland Timbers; Portland; the Timbers

Real Salt Lake

  • Real Salt Lake; Salt Lake; RSL (no periods); Real; the Claret-and-Cobalt (use sparingly and hyphenate)

San Jose Earthquakes

  • the San Jose Earthquakes; San Jose; SJ (no periods); the Earthquakes; the Quakes

Seattle Sounders FC

  • Seattle Sounders FC (never the Seattle Sounders FC, and no periods in FC); Seattle; the Seattle Sounders; Sounders FC (never the Sounders FC, and no periods in FC); the Sounders

Sporting Kansas City

  • Sporting Kansas City; Sporting KC; Kansas City; KC (no periods); SKC (no periods); Sporting
  • Note: Never refer to the club simply as Kansas.

Toronto FC

  • Toronto FC (no periods in FC); Toronto; TFC (no periods); the Reds (use sparingly)

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC (never the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and no periods in FC); Vancouver; the Vancouver Whitecaps; Whitecaps FC (never the Whitecaps FC and no periods in FC); the Whitecaps; the ’Caps (use an apostrophe)

See also: National teams

Filed under: Team names