For other uses, see Yak (disambiguation)

Is it obvious that I'm just killing time before the Championship of the Pacific? Obviously, for the honor of Major League Soccer, I should be cheering on Houston, but if they lose, then the Galaxy look microscopically less pathetic. C'mon, Gamba!

Anyway, as I was combing through Wikipedia, one of the four pillars of Internet scholarship*, I came upon this sadistically inadequate list of national team nicknames. I know for a fact every team in Africa has an incredibly cool name. For example, I know Togo are called the Sparrow Hawks. I demand that this list quadruple in length.

Is now a good time to reopen the can of worms as to what to call The United States? It usually ends up devolving into a series of insults that are both vicious and boring, all for the sake of names that aren't terribly imaginative anyway.

Yeah, it's the perfect time. One could make the argument that only African teams should have nicknames, since they're the only ones who do it well. A couple of teams get to be known by their colors, like the various Blues and El Tri** and such. Nearly everyone else except the Socceroos should be called by their country name. So "United States" should work, period, for both men and women. "Team USA" sounds painfully cheesy, and "Team America" has been co-opted by the FMF, the NASL, and South Park. In unguarded moments, I call them the Nats, but that's usually the signal for the big arguments in favor of "Yanks" and "Eagles" and "Stars and Stripes" and "Red, White and Blue" and such. "Yanks" has probably won, since that's what foreigners tend to call us, but to me "Yanks" wear pinstripes and get paid too much.*** Last I checked, the US cricket team, of all things, grabbed "Old Glory," which would have been cool, but probably wouldn't have caught on either.

And yet, there's China, with their beautiful name for their horribly declining women's team - the Steel Roses. I know in my heart encouraging nickname suggestions for the US will hit a dead end, but man, if we came up with something that cool...at least for the women, who could really use the lift after bringing the sport to a screeching halt last year. (If they keep Lilly, Scurry, and the gold shirts, they could be the Golden Oldies. JESUS, that sucked.)

Also while browsing Wikipedia soccer nicknames, I found this page, which I demand you vandalize for my entertainment. Go forth and do evil. Leave no crop or tree standing, no two pieces of wood nailed together, no brick stacked on another. Go do that voodoo that you do so well. Tell them Bill Archer sent you.

*Wikipedia, Google, Babelfish, and IMDB. Oh, and I think there's a site that has every Simpsons quote. Five pillars of Internet scholarship.

**Was all set to launch "El Triste" as the new official mocking nickname of the Seleccion - and then, we fell on our nuts in Houston. I realize Mexico's had some lousy results in the past couple of weeks, but where do I get off pretending I'm a big Ecuador supporter? Especially now that I lost my El Tanque shirt.

***At first, I made a typo calling the US team the "Yaks," and was THIS CLOSE to dropping everything I was doing and launching a nationwide crusade to call the US National Team the Yaks, and the US Women's National Team the Whatever You Call Female Yaks.**** But then what if Tibet finally gets into FIFA, and they find out Uncle Sam has skanked their nickname? The Dalai Lama would go apeshit. So for the next couple of World Cup cycles, I'm going to call them the Yaks, but you don't have to join me if you don't want to.

****I just had to look it up. Female yaks are also called yaks. If it weren't for Wikipedia, how long would these posts be, about eight words or so?