Just before the kick-off of the penultimate home game of the season for the Swope Park Rangers the team announced the name would be no more come 2020. Starting with the 2020 USL Championship season SPR will be known as Sporting Kansas City II. Not ‘2’ but as the Roman numeral “II.”
As can be expected, the announcement was met by derision from the fans on Twitter. My favorite exchange was by friend of The Blue Testament and KC Cauldron member Zach Cobb in response to a fan who named their dog after the team.
Call him Dog II.— Zachary Cobb (@ZachIsHere) September 30, 2019
In all seriousness, while the MLS teams with 2 or II after their name are boring, it makes sense in some regard. The team already spends millions of dollars on the Sporting KC brand and now they don’t have to market a different name that honestly some people probably don’t realize is a team associated with SKC.
Or as the team put it in their press release, the move helps by “aligning the Sporting Kansas City player pathway from the Academy to the first team.” One club. One name.
The team will play out the remainder of the 2019 season under the Rangers name.
From a logistical stand point, there is some reason to keep the old name and some reason to scrap it. While the team still trains at Swope Soccer Village, they haven’t played in the stadium in nearly two years as it doesn’t meet US Soccer’s standard for teams in the second division. Among the many reasons are the lack of a 5,000 seat stadium at Swope.
Sporting KC head coach and sporting director Peter Vermes weighed in as well.
“With the emergence of Sporting Kansas City II, all members of our player pathway will effectively represent the same club, whether they compete in MLS, the USL or the Academy. The development of young talent is a crucial part of our organization’s vision, and we are excited about the role Sporting II will continue to play moving forward.”
As much as we at The Blue Testament understand the sentiment, it doesn’t mean we have to like it. There were “boos,” “yucks,” “ughs” and just a general disdain for the new name. Despite that, SKC II will join a long list of MLS teams with some form of two in their name.
They are: Atlanta United 2, LA Galaxy II, New York Red Bulls II and Portland Timbers 2. That still leaves quite a few teams, that at least for now, are holding on to their independent brands. They are Bethlehem Steel FC (Philadelphia Union), Loudoun United (D.C. United), Real Monarchs SLC (Real Salt Lake) and the Tacoma Defiance (Seattle Sounders).
The one good thing about all this is that it sounds very likely that
the Swope Park Rangers Sporting KC II will be in the USL Championship next season. That was something that was in question just a couple months ago.
We will update this story if we can obtain an official response from head coach Paulo Nagamura.