38 Soccer-Inspired Baby Names You’ll Love (2024)

In the U.S., “football” is a term reserved for a game played on the gridiron (traditionally on Saturdays and Sundays, but if you’re a fan, you know it’s now a seven-day affair).

However, elsewhere, “football” is a term for soccer or “the beautiful game.” You don’t need to go overseas to enjoy the sport. If you’re like me, you came of age during the 1999 World Cup, when Brandi Chastain, Mia Hamm, Briana Scurry, and Julie Foudy became the faces of pushing women’s (and female empowerment, more generally) forward.

You may not have realized your dream of burying a World Cup-winning penalty kick (I sure didn’t). But, expecting parents who are soccer fans can draw inspiration from the beautiful game with a gorgeous baby name inspired by the sport’s past and present stars. These soccer-forward names are winners.

David

Soccer and Spice Girls fans will be on the same team about this moniker in honor of David Beckham, a former English and Los Angeles Galaxy star (and Posh Spice’s husband). David means “beloved,” which Beckham was during his playing days and beyond.

Beckham

If David feels too familiar, consider honoring Beckham by using his last name. Beckham has an English origin and means “homestead by the stream.”

Mia

Mia Hamm took on Michael Jordan in a Gatorade commercial and inspired a generation. Naming your Generation Alpha babe after her simply fits.

Brandi

After winning the 1999 Women’s World Cup, Brandi Chastain's sports-bra-bearing celebration achieved instant icon status and a Sports Illustrated cover. It was a particularly thrilling moment for Chastain, who was previously cut from the 1995 World Cup roster.

Abby

The 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year and 2015 World Cup champion Abby Wambach’s diving headers and fearlessness off the field at a time when LGBTQ+ rights were even less guaranteed impacted people beyond the sport.

Megan

Megan Rapinoe and Wambach connected for a dramatic last-second game-tying goal in the 2011 Women’s World Cup against Brazil. When Wambach retired, Rapinoe picked up the torch and became a vocal advocate for social justice.

Alexandra

Fans know her as “Alex” (as in Morgan). The two-time World Cup champion and Olympic medalist plays professionally for the San Diego Wave. She also became a first-time mom to daughter Charlie in 2020.

Morgan

Alex’s last name, Morgan, also works as a first name. It’s traditionally a boy’s name, but many little girls have it, too. Morgan has Welsch origin and a nautical vibe, translating to “sea-born," "sea-song," or "sea-circle."

Julie

Julie Foudy, a retired midfielder and two-time World Cup winner, captained the U.S. team in 1999. Off the field, she was a vocal advocate for removing gender discrimination and fully implementing Title IX. Another Julie, Julie Ertz, also won a pair of World Cups and earned two U.S. Soccer Player of the Year honors before retiring in August of 2023.

Landon

Landon Donovan is considered one of the top players in U.S. men’s soccer history and won the Best Young Player Award at the 2002 World Cup.

Ronaldo

You can’t go wrong naming a little one after one of the greatest ever to put on a uniform: Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo. “Ron” or “Ronald” are other riffs on this name. This could also pay homage to another one of the greatest: Brazilian former soccer star Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima.

Cristiano

Or, opt for Cristiano’s first name “Christian” to honor the legend.

Kristine

Kristine Lilly’s game-saving header set the stage for the U.S. women’s team to beat China on penalty kicks in 1999. You could also honor the great Canadian forward, Christine Sinclair, who played in six World Cup finals.

Lilly

This pretty moniker also honors Kristine Lilly (with a botanical twist).

Rose

Speaking of floral, Rose Lavelle is one of the current leaders of the U.S. squad. She plays professionally for the OL Reign.

Crystal

Would you prefer to name your little one after a gem? Consider Crystal, also the name of World Cup champion defender (and mom to Marcel) Crystal Dunn.

Heather

Heather O’Reilly watched the 1999 Women’s World Cup opening rounds as a fan at Giants Stadium and went on to win one herself (plus three Olympic gold medals).

Reilly

Give your kick-happy little one-to-be a piece of O’Reilly once they’re born by making part of her last name their first name.

Kelley

Kelley O’Hara was a defensive stalwart, helping the U.S. win World Cups in 2015 and 2019. She now plays for Gotham FC.

Lionel

After his monumental time playing in Europe, Lionel Messi is now captain of the Major League Soccer club Inter Miami, as well as the Argentina national team. He is always in the discussion for GOAT on the men’s side. (Let’s just hope the baby doesn’t stay up all night long, as another famous person with this name, Lionel Richie, likes to croon.)

Leo

Leo is Lionel’s nickname and means “brave people" or "lion-hearted.”

Edson

Sorry for the mixed metaphor, but here is a quick curveball: Another GOAT candidate, Pelé, was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento. The Brazilian forward was hailed as the World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics in 2000.

Joy

Joy Fawcett appeared in 241 games for the U.S. women’s team before retiring in 2004 (but not before winning an Olympic gold medal). She was a founding member of the WUSA, a professional women’s league. The name is also perfect for emphasizing the “joy” in “bundle of joy.”

Michel

French Player of the Century, Michel Platini, starred in the 1980s and is also in the Italian Football Hall of Fame. You might opt for Michael.

Michelle

One of the pioneers on the women’s side, Michelle Akers, helped the U.S. win the World Cup in 1991 and 1999 and struck Olympic gold in 1996.

Johan

Soccer historians will get a kick out of this one that honors Dutch great Hendrik Johannes Cruijff (or Johan Cruyff). A three-time winner of the prestigious Ballon d'Or award honoring the best male player, Cruijff was a star in the 1970s. The name means “God is gracious.”

Briana

The legendary U.S.goalie, Briana Scurry, was an expert stopper for the 1999 World Cup. Her save during the 1999 World Cup final penalty kick round vs. China was pivotal in the historic win.

Diego

Argentina forward Diego Armando Maradona shared the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award with Pelé.

Wayne

Wayne Rooney holds Manchester United’s record for most goals scored. Hockey fans get a two-for-one here, as the name can also honor one of that sport’s greatest of all time, Wayne Gretzky.

Rooney

Not feeling Wayne but want to honor the Manchester United legend? Rooney is a creative alternative sure to stand out on the first day of kindergarten.

Dempsey

This gender-neutral baby name honors Clint Dempsey, a former U.S. forward/midfielder. Dempsey and Donovan typically rank one and two on people’s lists of top people to don the red, white, and blue for the U.S. men’s team, though the order is much-debated among fans.

Bobby

Bobby Charlton is still loved across the pond for leading England to 1966 World Cup glory. It’s usually short for Robert (and was in Charlton’s case), a name meaning “bright fame.”

Thomas

Movie-goers are learning of Thomas Rongen, a Dutch-American player-turned-coach who is the subject of the comedy-drama documentary Next Goal Wins, about his work with the Samoa men’s team.

Trinity

One of the game’s next big stars, Trinity Rodman, became the youngest player drafted into the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) in 2021 and went on to win Rookie of the Year. She played for the U.S. in the 2023 World Cup.

Ted

Ted Lasso may not be real, but fans of the game, show, and biscuits will dig this one.

Kasey

This name works for any gender and honors the former starting goalie for the U.S. men’s team, Kasey Keller.

Carli

During her historic run in red, white, and blue, Carli Lloyd won two Olympic gold medals, two World Cups, and two FIFA Player of the Year honors.

Jill

U.K.-born Jill Ellis was the head coach of the U.S. women’s team from 2014 to 2019, leading the squad to a pair of World Cup wins. Jill is a Latin name for “sweetheart” or “youthful.”

38 Soccer-Inspired Baby Names You’ll Love (2024)

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