#unamerican / MLS branding issues point to a bigger problem in this country.

We hear it over and over again, from MLS team after MLS team: “We want to be a global brand.” When unveiling the incongruous and derivative St. Louis City name last summer, owner Carolyn Kindle Betz said she wanted MLS to put her market “on the international map,” and that she was intrigued by the branding “once I started to get educated on why ‘City’ is an international name.” Columbus SC president and GM Tim Bezbatchenko, who was quoted in Monday’s official announcement, used the phrase “global stage of soccer” to describe his club’s ambitions.

The perspective and language of this issue are reminiscent of American cities vying to come with their own version of Silicon Valley around the mid-2000s. In the end, most of those efforts ended up looking and feeling like what they were—inferior copies to make up for lack of local ingenuity.

There are no shortcuts in life, only expensive lessons to be learned.