January 25, 2006
Houston 1836

The new Houston MLS franchise has a name.

How does Houston 1836 grab you?

No, it's not a spinoff of Beverly Hills 90210. For better or worse, it really is the name chosen for the city's Major League Soccer team.

In case you're scratching your head, wondering where on Earth such a name came from, you're not alone.


Most popular in Europe, particularly Germany, the style of naming a team after a year is considered a soccer staple. German teams such as Hannover 96 (1896), Bayer 04 Leverkusen, FC Schalke 04 (both 1904) and FSV Mainz 05 (1905) are among the most popular in Europe. The style migrated to other parts of the world, including Latin America, in the early 1900s.

Houston's name would have a different connotation. It would not make reference to the year the team was founded, as do most European names.

Mike Hensley, who manages KICKS, said the name was not the most popular choice among patrons.

"A lot of people weren't familiar with the historical aspect of the year," said Hensley, who nonetheless added that 1836 was among his top choices. "I think it's a perfect fit. I think once the why and the root of the name is explained, people will be excited about it."

Candidates included the Apollos, Generals, Lonestars and Toros.

Well, I like it, even if Lair doesn't. I presume Rob will approve, though he hasn't posted yet. I can't tell you how thankful I am that we've all been spared the horror of a "Houston Lonestars" franchise. Whoever is responsible for that, you have my eternal gratitude.

UPDATE: As predicted, Rob approves. Liberty is more concerned about the future stadium deal that the Sixers (see, isn't that a nice, simple nickname for them?) will eventually get.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 25, 2006 to Other sports | TrackBack

My suggestion was the Houston Sh*tkickers.

Posted by: Laurence Simon on January 25, 2006 9:12 AM

Nothing could possibly be as ridiculous as the "Houston Texans." Let 'em celebrate a little history if they want.

Posted by: blurker gone bad on January 25, 2006 9:40 AM

My first choice would be Houston Hooters.

Posted by: Dalicious on January 25, 2006 10:14 AM

I voted Houston 1836.

Posted by: sabestian on January 25, 2006 10:56 AM

The Texas Declaration of Independence was enacted at Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 2, 1836, effectively creating the Republic of Texas. But what does that have to do with Soccer?

Posted by: texxas redd on January 25, 2006 11:08 AM

BgB: Please. Lots of things are as ridiculous as (or more ridiculous than) the "Houston Texans". Most bands' names, for example. Marvin Zindler's Hairpiece. The Bush Administration's Understanding of and Respect for Constitutional Limits on Executive Power.

If we want a good team name (or even a ridiculous one), I say we should have gone with the "Houston Liberal Media". People are passionate about it, even if they don't agree what it means, it may not exist, and it folds like a road map under any real pressure. Perfect for Houston! :P

Posted by: Michael on January 25, 2006 12:19 PM

Too bad Houston wasn't founded in 1869. The 69ers has sort of a nice ring to it.

Posted by: Vernon Guy on January 25, 2006 12:45 PM

I understand that this franchise, and others in MLS, are trying to name teams similarly to naming conventions in Europe and Latin America, hence "Houston 1836" (which is at least a fairly original name for a U.S. sports franchise).

But even though 1836 is presumably for the founding of Houston and not Texas independence, it would seem to me that folks of Mexican ancestry might construe it as the latter and be put off by it, as if it were a reminder of seizing Texas from Mexico.

I could be wrong.

Posted by: Tim on January 25, 2006 1:23 PM

I wanted Houston Sprawl.

And my first thought at hearing the name was that alienating the Mexician population was an interesting approach for the soccer team.

I've been told by more knowlegable soccer fans than I that if you name the team after a year, you name it after the year the TEAM was founded, not the city.

Posted by: 'stina on January 25, 2006 4:48 PM

Ooh, the sixers? When I hear that I think of the Philadelphia 76ers. How about we call our guys the thirty-sixers instead?

Posted by: Jim Thompson on January 25, 2006 11:23 PM

Re: name [...] alienating the Mexician population

Is the celebration of the Fourth of July and the name of the NBA team (76ers) going to alienate me as an American of English descent? Of course not, the idea is that we're all Americans, not Something-Americans.

Posted by: Rob Booth (Slightly Rough) on January 26, 2006 5:48 AM

I wonder why none of the usual suspects thought of "Danger Trains".

Posted by: PDiddie on January 26, 2006 8:51 AM

I've created 1836.isfullofcrap.com to collect up 1,836 alternative names for the team that are better than 1836.

Posted by: Laurence Simon on January 26, 2006 11:40 AM

It isn't just a Euro phenomenon. In addition to the sixers, there's also the 49ers of course. But I think the use of the term 49er was pretty common as slang for gold rush miners in California long before the football team took the name. Sort of like Sooners in Oklahoma or Tarheels in NC.

Of course 1836 won't last as the actual name people use. It will be shortened in slang to the 36ers or something like that. Today people mostly say Sixers for Philly and Niners for San Francisco.

Personally I like ecclectic animal names best but I think perhaps those work best for colleges:

TCU Horned Frogs
UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs
Evergreen Univ. Geoducks (giant clams)

For God's sake just don't take some Euro type name out of context and apply it to Houston.

Houston United
Real Houston

Posted by: Kent on January 26, 2006 12:13 PM

Interestingly, Houston's MLS franchise is not the first team in the world named after the founding of a city in 1836. The Adelaide 36'ers of the Australian Basketball League are named after the year that city founded. (www.adelaide36ers.com).

I don't have a problem with MLS teams using European / Latin American style names (DC United, FC Dallas. CD Chivas), but Real Salt Lake is ridiculous. The name Real is given to Spanish teams by right of the King of Spain. It allows the team to use the symbol of the royal crown of Spain on their crest.

I like Houston's team name. If you want a soccer team with an interesting mix of names, you might like Japan's Tokyo Verdy 1969. The J-League has an interesting mix of names including Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Nagoya Grampus Eight.

Posted by: William Hughes on January 27, 2006 9:01 AM

I heard some wealthy Japanese businessmen just bought a MLS soccer team, will relocate the team to Texas, and name it....Vidor December 7, 1941.

Posted by: Sergio on January 27, 2006 2:04 PM

Naming the team "Houston 1836" is a slap to the Latino community. It is like waving a Dixie flag during Black History Month. How tacky and insensitive can someone be!!!!! They have got to remember that the Latinos are the majority that go to these events.

Posted by: Carmen on February 12, 2006 6:09 PM

Carmen, I don't know what MLS games you're attending but Latinos are far from being "the majority" that go. The league is (and has been) bending over backwards to get more people of Latino descent to come to MLS matches. I'm a N. E. Revolution seasons ticket holder and our crowds are mix of all races and other matches I've attended have been pretty much the same.

Posted by: Jim Powers on February 13, 2006 11:10 AM

Sory folks, the PC Police won. Did anyone hear any groundswell of discontent over this name due to Santa Anna getting his ass kicked? What unmitigated BS.
I was looking forward to a mascot dressed as Santa
Anna who would spend most of his time asleep in a tent and emerge when the team scored.

Posted by: Cy Creek on February 15, 2006 8:50 AM


Hey Carmen, I can't believe that Mexicans would be offended at honoring a year when a bunch of them were freed from a brutal dictator.

I wish people would educate the stinking brains in their dense little heads before snapping to a stupid conclusion like "Santa Anna was defeated in 1836, and he was Hispanic, therefore Texas 1836 is racist." That's the stupidest drivel I've ever heard.

Posted by: Texian Wannabe on February 16, 2006 9:28 PM

Ive got some British blood, so Im going to call the 76ers and tell them Im offended. The PC movement is offically out of control.

And no, its not like waiving a Confederate flag. 1836 is all about freedom from an oppresive dictator.

Posted by: Chris on February 16, 2006 9:54 PM

Okay, saying that you should be offended by the Sixers because of your British blood is not the same as being a Mexican-American offended by Houston 1836. When the US revolted agaisnt the British, it was a basically the British agaisnt people of British decent. Texas was formed because Americans migrated to Texas to trade with the Mexicans. The Americans liked it and decided to stay. Eventually, the "superiority gene" kicked in and they decided to fight the "foreign govenment." They used the local Mexicans that were discontent with the government in order to make Texas a free country you could say. After that the Texans began murdering "Texicanos", taking their properties and whatnot. Mexicans got the wrong end of the deal if you ask me. Might I add, I am not Mexican. Just to crush any insults or reponses that may come from this post.

Posted by: Manny on February 17, 2006 7:40 PM

Houston 1836 just has too many syllables. I can't see myself at a game yelling "Let's go 1836!" It just does not work. '36ers would work. Now they want to change the name to Lone Stars. Am I the only one who sees that you can't be "Lone" and be Stars plurral. Lonestar Houston works for me though. I may be a minority of one but I would like to see the name Houston Hurricane brought back. Of tha names on the list, I like Toros.

Posted by: paul on February 24, 2006 12:25 AM

Ridiculous. 1836 is a great name for the side. Thirty-sixer's sounds fantastic, and the fact that Houston and AEG are kowtow'ing to a vocal minority of PC cops is disgusting. What utter and complete crap.

Posted by: Steve H on February 28, 2006 12:50 PM

I can't believed how they completely backed down and gave in. The 36ers is a great name for a Houston team but should haved been reserved for the future hockey team. I'm sure the population that will support a Houston NHL team would have loved such a proud Texas name as "The 36" or "The 36ers". They wouldn't dare use it now. Too bad.

Posted by: Mike Pruski on March 30, 2006 7:41 PM

What's wrong with Houston naming its team after the year Texas became a nation? 1836 is the year that ended the brutal massacres and dictatorships that Texas endure under the reign of Mexico. Remember Goliad?? If you're going to play that game, then the 76ers is offensive to African Americans since the United States condoned slavery at that particular time and didn't abolish it until 90 years later. Let's get real here.

Posted by: Brent on April 4, 2006 8:39 PM

Howdy from Aggieland--

Hey guys, I work for the Aggies full time and teach Public Relations part-time for Northwestern State.

I'm trying to write a research paper about the controversy that occurred after the 1836 name was unveiled.

Could you guys help me out with a few things??
a] How can I learn about the contest that came up with the original list of names?

b] Can you guys refer me to some of the articles or blogs where agitators got caught up and protested the 1836 name?

ANY help you could offer would be Greatly appreciated!

Best regards,
Dr. Ric Jensen

Posted by: Ric Jensen, PhD on June 13, 2006 12:45 PM