Quirky Sports Names Inspire Superfans

May 22, 2020 Clare Green
quirky sports names

Time for more sports names! Last week we looked at star athletes and players who sparked baby name trends. Now let’s investigate the more unusual end of the popularity scale.

Quirky sports names are used by parents to honor something that really matters to them — a player, a place or even an anthem or motto — even they don’t quite match current baby name fashions.

A few years ago we brought you nine great sports-inspired baby name stories, so rather than repeating them, here’s the latest update of more intriguingly-named babies born since then.

Ynwa No Longer Walks Alone

First, an update to one of those stories. Remember Ynwa, the girl named after Liverpool Football Club (that’s soccer to Americans)’s anthem, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”? Last year she got a sister, Tia. It stands for This Is Anfield — that’s the club’s stadium.

Special Places and Teams

Sticking with British football teams, other babies named for hallowed grounds include Blundell and Roker. Little Biba Bluebell’s middle name came from her dad’s junior team, and there is at least one boy named Arsenal. You may also have heard of babies named Lanesra (read it backwards) — although not always with both parents’ full knowledge!

A soccer fan in the Netherlands wanted to name his son Feyenoord after his favorite team, but was concerned that Dutch naming laws wouldn’t permit it. The solution? He asked his wife to give birth in Belgium, where the rules are less strict.

American fans are just as keen to name their children after special sporting places. After the Chicago Cubs won the baseball World Series in 2016, there was a spike in babies named Wrigley after their home, Wrigley Field. Other fans named their children Clark, Addison and Waveland, after the streets surrounding the pitch, and Ivy for the iconic ivy on the outfield walls.

Another cool sports place name is Arrow after Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs. (The team’s logo is also an arrowhead.)

It’s always nice when athletes themselves choose baby names that nod to their sport. Baseball player Andrew McCutchen welcomed a son while he was with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and named him Steel — a neat nod to Pittsburgh’s nickname, the Steel City.

Another subtly sporty name is golfer Sergio Garcia’s daughter, Azalea. She was born the year after Sergio won the Masters cup, and her name honors the flowers that bloom around the course where it takes place. (Azalea recently welcomed a little brother with the non-golf-related named Enzo Akins.) Speaking of golf, not every baby Ryder is named after the Ryder Cup…but some of them definitely are.

Another cup-inspired name? Stanley, after Lord Stanley’s Cup in the National Hockey League

Ailsa is an extra-special place name.The Scottish island of Ailsa Craig is one of only two places in the world that produces granite for curling stones, making it the perfect name for the daughter of two curlers. I wonder if they would have called a son Craig? Or Trefor, the other granite source.

Offbeat Sports Star Names

Here are some children named after sportspeople with names a little more unusual than Jordan and Carson.

Bauer is a fairly uncommon occupational name, but baseball player Trevor Bauer may be changing that.

Burrow is another rare B-surname. One baby got it as a middle name, in honor of quarterback Joe Burrow.

In 2018, a fan of the British football team Everton named his son Gana after player Idrissa Gana Gueye. The Senegalese player has explained that his middle name was chosen by his father and honors his grandfather, and he now wears Gana on his shirt as a mark of respect. Another Everton player, Gylfi Sigurðsson, inspired a fan to use his name.

Geraint, a name from Arthurian legend, is familiar in its native Wales but rare elsewhere. At least one baby was named after the 2018 Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas.

Some fans adapt the names of their favorite male players into names for their daughters. For example, Georgia was named after Houston Astros baseball player George Springer, to celebrate the Astros winning the World Series. Huntlee honors the quarterback Tyler Huntley, and Blake Ramsey is named for two footballers with conveniently unisex names. At least one Sydney was inspired by hockey player Sidney Crosby, and baby Patsy was so named because she shares a birthday with Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Keylor, as in soccer player Keylor Navas, has been rare but rising in the US charts since 2014. It’s made an even bigger impact in his native Costa Rica, and in the European countries where he plays. Meanwhile, fans of the Italian player Sebastian Giovinco liked his full name so much they gave it to their son as his first and middle.

From other sports, boy-girl twins in India were named Virat and Mithali after the captains of the men’s and women’s cricket teams. And Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale revealed that their son’s name, Rafa, comes partly from Rafael Nadal.

Which of these names do you like best, and would *you* name a child after a sports star?

About the author

Clare Green

Clare Green writes Nameberry's weekly round-up of the latest baby name news, including celebrity announcements, unusual naming stories, and new statistics from around the world . Clare, who has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, lives in England, where she has worked in libraries and studies linguistics. You can follow her personally on Instagram and Twitter.

View all of Clare Green's articles


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