Soccer nicknames come from all sorts of places and varying origin stories. Some may be as simple as the color of the team’s home jersey. Others require backstories that are inextricably intertwined with the history of the club.
There are historic clubs like Arsenal (Gunners), Bayer Leverkusen (The Company’s Eleven), and West Ham United (The Irons and The Hammers) that derive their nicknames from their humble beginnings at works teams, clubs created for the benefit of the blue collar factory workers of the day.
Dig around the globe and you find fascinating nickname origin stories that tell the story of the club and their surrounding neighborhoods.
The Premier League’s Everton F.C., nicknamed The Toffees, references an old toffee candy shop business located in Everton village. The club celebrates its history in modern times with The Everton Toffee Lady tossing out candy to spectators.
In the west London neighborhood of Fulham, the club is nicknamed the Cottagers. The club nickname and stadium name pays homage to Craven Cottage, an historic royal hunting lodge that had originally been located on the plot of land occupied by the stadium.
Other soccer club nicknames find their start from the banter of supporters. Italian giants Juventus, nicknamed The Old Lady, is a pun on the latin word juventus, meaning “youth”. Despite the youthful meaning, the club had a tendency to keep around old, aging players. The nickname stuck.
Brighton & Hove Albion’s nickname has a similar history based on supporters’ banter. The Seagulls nickname stuck after a group of Brighton supporters tried to insultingly chant “Seagulls” to drown out the opposing Crystal Palace supporters’ “Eagles…Eagles” chant. The seagull chant became a 1970’s meme. What began as banter turned into a club nickname.
This brings me to Nashville SC and the coyote.
Perhaps more than anything outside the color gold, the coyote has intertwined itself into the fabric of the club. What began as a meme from the nonsensical ramblings of an anti-MLS stadium advocate, the coyote has come to symbolize Nashville SC and the push to build a permanent home at the Fairgrounds.
Throwback to where it all began, on August 27 2018. pic.twitter.com/KSWae5BcTj— Ben Wright (@benwright) January 13, 2021
A day later, former Nashville SC broadcaster John Freeman invoked the coyote from the previous night’s contentious metro council meeting by referring to Nashville’s USL side as “a pack of coyotes, on the hunt again.”
This time last year, club officials elevated the coyote one step further. With a nod and a wink to Nashville SC’s coyote history and an easier-to-explain viral story of the bathroom coyote, Tempo was introduced. Since then, Tempo has wasted no time cementing his mascot legend status.
As Nashville SC installs the finishing touches and moves into its gorgeous new stadium at the Fairgrounds, let the coyote symbolize all that has been accomplished over the last few years.
Despite vocal opposition against, the Fairgrounds stadium was built thanks to the tireless work of a band of dedicated supporters and those who wished to see soccer succeed in Nashville.
Despite national pundits predicting early struggles, Nashville SC’s players and staff banded together to build a winning culture that began immediately in year one.
Each step of the way, it took a band of old and new Nashvillians to take this club from its humble roots as an supporter-owned amateur club to the heights of MLS.
Let a band of coyotes symbolize that rise, the fight and the victories it took to get here. “So what if the nickname derives from a bit of banter? Nashville SC would not be the first, nor likely the last club, to adopt a nickname in such a manner. After all, you cannot fully tell Nashville SC’s history without mentioning the coyote. It has become inextricably intertwined with the fabric of the club and symbolizes the journey that has been made to get to this point.
The Boys in Gold, Six Strings, Soccer Moses, The Backline, and all the other mascots and nicknames will be here to stay. But there is always room for one more. It is time for Nashville supporters to fully adopt the Coyotes as part of that group.