Story via Tyler Snipes of MLSNEXTPro.com
Across the globe in our sport, most club nicknames are age-old and you don't often get to see one come to life.
If you've followed MLS NEXT Pro in any capacity in the inaugural season, you've probably noticed that Columbus Crew 2 has picked up a unique nickname, The Capybaras. Before you search too far, the answer is no: there is no native connection between the world's largest rodent species and the Ohio capital.
It is also not a tradition carried down from the Columbus Crew's first team. The name, born in jest, came from a pure place of fun and helped give the Crew 2 players and staff more than they ever expected when they envisioned what their support would look like in the inaugural season.
"As a team, I don't think we really had any expectations to have any following or have any fans," team captain Marco Micaletto said. "But when they came, it was just an incredible extra boost. It was that incredible surprise that no one expected, but now it's here, and it's here in great force."
If you're here, you're probably wondering how Crew 2's nickname came to be, and here is everything you need to know:
Where exactly did the name come from?
Carlos Maciel, known by Columbus supporters as President Bird, is the one responsible for speaking it into existence.
“I’m not going to embellish it, it started as a joke,” he told MLSNEXTPro.com.
When Maciel learned he’d have a new team to support with the launch of MLS NEXT Pro in 2022, he went to Discordecke, the fan-run Columbus Crew Discord community, to discuss the announcement and ended up talking about references for the team.
Maciel was born in Brazil, spent years in Columbus, and now lives in Colorado. Discord is one of the ways he stays close to the Crew supporter community, and that’s where the Columbus faithful started a brainstorm to give Crew 2 a signature nickname.
As a suggestion, the name was an instant hit. It turns out there is a busy intersection of Columbus soccer fans and capybara meme enthusiasts.
“For just completely random reasons, there were a lot of other capybara memes going around with that After the Party song that I didn't know about, and all these people started posting and sharing it and I was like ‘Oh, that's actually pretty great,' and so that got involved into the mythology of it, and it was kind of a perfect storm of having the name work.”