86ing the 1836

The Major League Soccer team in Houston formerly known as the San Jose Earthquakes will likely be also formerly known as the 1836, after only a month with the ill-fated moniker.

Fans who immediately bought T-shirts when the team came to town might have collectors’ items on their hands.

Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Sylvia Garcia told the Houston Chronicle that Anschutz Entertainment Group principal Philip Anschutz confirmed to her that a name change is in the works, though no official announcement had been made at press time.

“[Anschutz] indicated that they (AEG) were strongly considering a name change, and before the weekend (February 14-15) was over they committed that they would be doing it,” Garcia told the paper. “I suspect we’ll be hearing an official announcement very soon.”

The “1836” name represents the year Houston was founded by American settlers. However, to the chagrin of some Latino activists, 1836 was also the year of the Battle of the Alamo and the defeat of Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna’s Mexican army at the hands of Gen. Sam Houston in the Battle of San Jacinto during the Texas Revolution.

The name came under immediate attack by many in Houston’s Mexican-American, corporate and political communities when it was announced January 26th.

“We believed, and many people still do, that 1836 was a great name because it symbolized the founding of the city, and we thought people would rally around that,” team president Oliver Luck told the Chronicle. “But obviously we hit a bit of a raw nerve within the Mexican-American community.”

When AEG announced it was moving the San Jose Earthquakes to Houston, one of the reasons given was that it wanted to attract an ethnically diverse fan base that is already immersed in soccer.