Minnesota's new women's soccer franchise has narrowed its list of possible team names down to 16 candidates, ranging from words that describe Minnesota to those that give a nod to women's history.
- Minnesota Aurora: Named after the Aurora Borealis, the team could be known as the Northern Lights.
- Minnesota Dark Sky: A community suggestion that has ties with Minnesota's dark sky (Fun fact: the Boundary Waters as designated the 13th Dark Sky Sanctuary in the world last year).
- Minnesota Foxfire: In Finnish mythology, the Northern Lights are called "Revontulet" (Fox Fire) after the mysterious and elusive firefox that brushes its tail against the sky, setting the night sky ablaze.
- Minnesota Myriad: Myriad means 10,000 in ancient Greek. It pays homage to the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The team could be known as "The Ten Thousand."
- Minnesota Red Pines: Red Pines blanket northern Minnesota "imposing silently over the lakes and ruggedly enduring the bleak, dark winters in the North."
- Minnesota Suffragettes: A nod to the Suffragettes that has historical significance to Minnesota — the first women to vote after the 19th Amendment were in South St. Paul.
- Minnesota Temperance: A nod to the Prohibition Era and Minnesota ties to the Temperance movement.
- Minnesota Violets: The blue violet is a flower that carpets fields in the Midwest.
- Minnesota Vortex: A nod to the Polar Vortex, and one of the only weather-related names that has been proposed.
- Minnesota Whitetails: One of few animal names that was proposed, it's a nod to Minnesota's white-tailed deer and hunting season.
- Arctic Minnesota: Minnesotans are hardy and embrace the cold, with the "brave hardiness of the North" being embodied in the symbol of the snowy owl, the team says.
- Black Oak Minnesota: A nod to one of Minnesota's tree species.
- Iron Minnesota: A nod to the Iron Range, which has shaped Minnesota's landscape and culture. The team would be known as the Irons or Rangers.
- Portage Minnesota: A nod to the Boundary Waters and canoeing.
- River Minnesota: The state's rivers feed the rest of the Midwest and the Mighty Mississippi stands out as the most important. The team could be known as the Gray Ducks.
- Roaring Minnesota: Remember the wild days of Prohibition Minnesota during the Roaring 1920s, Roaring would be known as the Bee's Knees or the Bees.
The team will be women-led and community-owned, which means fans will have a stake in the team and elect two board members to serve on the seven-member board.
They'll also be part of the naming and branding process, which includes deciding on team colors. Community owners will get the chance to vote on the names in the near future.
The team's ownership drive is currently underway — ownership shares are $100 each with investment levels up to $10,000, a news release said. The drive has raised more than $750,000 of its starting goal of $1 million.
The USL W describes itself as the "premier pre-professional league, developing the next generation of women's soccer talent both on and off the field." The league will aim to "use women’s soccer as a force for societal good by creating a national platform to increase opportunity, gender equity, and career development."