What’s In a Name?

Welcome to a new standalone post at SmallWorld!

Today, we’ll be looking at a few clubs around lower-league soccer whose names stand out from the rest! I had this idea after seeing a few clubs with unique names I knew little about.

I figured there were a lot more clubs with interesting names and stories behind those names, and as it turns out, I was right. I did the research, and am now proud to bring you six stories behind six intriguing club names.

1. Mississippi Brilla:

Brilla is the Spanish word for shine, and this has many meanings for the Clinton, MS club. The Spanish usage is a reference to their outreach in various Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, one of SmallWorld’s personal favorites! The word in particular is a nod to Matthew 5:16, which guides the club’s principles and instructs Christ followers to “let your light shine before others.” (NASB translation) It’s also terribly difficult for me to pronounce, apparently, given how many times I butchered it on our recent podcast covering Brilla. And I speak Spanish, so that’s kinda sad.

2. Vlora FC:

Vlora has been making its case recently as one of SmallWorld’s favorite clubs. They have a fantastic international flavor and have been quietly building a strong following, especially among the minority communities in Minneapolis. As such, it’s only fitting that their name is tied to a foreign city. Vlora is the name of a city in Albania where the club’s founder Adi was born. It’s very unique and interesting, and ties together the people and mentality they’ve built their name on. Literally!

3. Chemical Valley AC:

This West Virginia-based club has a really nice design in a state I feel needs more of a lower-league soccer presence, so I already loved them before I knew the story of their name. Apparently, it’s actually connected to their geographic home base. West Virginia, and especially the Charleston area, is known for its chemical plants, and even more so for the accidents that have occured there in recent years. As a result, the nickname “Chemical Valley” is often applied to Charleston and the surrounding region.

4. MatSu United FC:

MatSu United is the product of a rebrand of Alaska City SC, a UPSL side representing the northernmost US state. MatSu is a reference to Matanuska-Susitna Valley, the region of Alaska where the club is located. It’s a nice refresh to the club’s name and logo that seems to really draw on the club’s roots and focus on its goal of growing the game in their local area.

5. Oly Town Artesians:

So maybe you’ve seen their victory in the Lower League eCup, or maybe you’ve seen their awesome community efforts and fundraisers, but no matter how you found them, you probably took one look and said, “what?” The first word is pronounced “oh-lee”, and it represents the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State that Oly Town calls home. But what’s an Artesian? I actually had to ask the source for this, because I didn’t know either. As it turns out, it has to do with local lore about the artesian water in the area. The water comes from artesian wells, and the legend goes that a group of mythical people called “Artesians” who guard the water and make it so delicious. Whether fact or fiction, it’s a great story and a great nod to the local area.

This has been a shorter post, but hopefully an informational and interesting one nonetheless. If you can think of more clubs with unique stories behind their names, let me know of them and I’ll make sure to update the post!

You can comment on this post, reach out to me on Twitter @SWSoccer_Danny, or send me an email at Thanks for reading!

Support local soccer, unify those around you, and *seek out diversity*!




By danny kotula

danny kotula is an aspiring sports writer and play-by-play commentator. unfortunately, he is not good at either one. his interests include watching soccer and listening to obscure music genres, and those aren’t even his most boring ones. he was born in Tacoma, Washington but has called South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, California, Georgia, and Costa Rica home over the course of his life. he generally knows where to put a comma, which is by far his most redeeming quality. he is writing this in third person as if he were famous enough for someone to write him a biography, but don’t be fooled. he’s not famous.

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