What’s in a name? A lot, in MLS

News came out yesterday that the LA Galaxy had signed three Brazilian players on loan: Alex, Juninho and Leonardo. I nearly spit out my rooibos at the shock that an MLS side could lure players away from Chelsea, Al-Gharafa and AC Milan’s managerial chair. Then, of course, I realized the three additions to LA’s roster were all under the age of 22, and all signed from Sao Paulo FC… not the Brazilian internationals of European pedigree who’d used the same monikers.

But then I thought, MLS should use the Brazilians’ propensity for recycling nicknames to their advantage. Sign more youngsters from Brazil who’ve copped their jersey names from famous forerunners — we could see Romario suiting up for the Kansas City Wizards, Ronaldo taking the pitch for FC Dallas, Cafu donning the New England Revolution kit.

It doesn’t just have to be MLS. Wouldn’t it be perfect historical symmetry to see Pele in the new NASL?

Of course, it doesn’t matter if any of these kids are any good. It’s all about awareness and merchandising. You can pluck them at random from any slum in Rio de Janeiro, as long as they’re willing to go by the proper name. (Hell, any randomly-picked kid from Rio could probably hold his own in MLS anyway).

As for Toronto FC, well, I’m hoping for the rather giggle-inducing triumvirate of Kaka, Dudu and Hulk.


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