25 Baby Boy Names Inspired by World Cup Soccer Hunks

soccer ballsInspiration can strike at any point when parents-to-be are searching for a baby name. So why not look to the soccer field, where players are known for their athleticism and endurance? There might just be some creative names waiting to be found.

In case you've missed it, there's a little sports event happening right now. Thirty-two teams are competing in Brazil to earn the coveted title of FIFA World Cup Champion. And not only do we get a nice display of sporting prowess, but also some inventive baby name ideas.

Here are some baby names inspired by the World Cup:

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Achille: Achille Emaná, the Cameroonian midfielder, has made appearances at the Africa Cup of Nations and the FIFA World Cup, so his skills are no joke. The name is also a play on Achilles, the famed Greek hero of the Trojan War, so it's no surprise he's such a warrior.

Arjen: Inspired by Arjen Robben of the Netherlands, the name is similar to Arjun and means "bright" and "shining." Plus, your little guy's namesake has appeared in three consecutive World Cups, so there's no denying he'll be sporty. It's definitely a unique name, so don't expect to find a lot of Arjens in the neighborhood daycare.

Bastian: Bastian Schweinsteiger of Germany is known as the "midfield mastermind." Seriously, he's good. And his name is getting more and more popular too. Jeremy Sisto even used it for his son, but you can go with a multitude of different spellings: Bastian, Bastien, or go long with Sebastian. Be careful, though. While it wasn't really popular in the '90s, 2014 has seen a resurgence of the name, so be cautious if you're going for a more unique one.

Beckham: After David Beckham, obviously. No other football star has reached quite the same level of stardom as Becks. And is your baby a kicker in the womb? If so, he (or she) might be a Beckham. In 2013, it was ranked as the number 532 most popular name in the U.S., and that's up from 655 in 2011, so the popularity is soaring.

Clemente: It might mean "gentle and merciful," but Argentina's Clemente Rodríguez can be anything but merciful on the field. His right-footed kick is no joke, and neither is his name. While Clemente peaked in popularity in the 1880s, the vintage name is coming back. And change it up by going with Clementine for a girl if you're looking for more feminine names.

Cristiano: Sure, he's a famed football star from Portugal, but ladies may know Cristiano Ronaldo from his modeling ads. They're really some of his best work. The 29-year-old captain is the most expensive player ever, and many call him the best footballer in the world. That's why it's no surprise that it's listed on the top 1,000 most popular names in the U.S. And when you factor in Latin America and Europe, the name is even more popular. Plus, for a more ladylike twist, you can even consider Cristiana.

Dante: Brazil's defender is such a skilled player that he literally goes by a single name: Dante. Not too bad, either, because the name is the 289th most popular name in the U.S. and has been steadily on the rise since 1991.

Dempsey: USA's team captain Clint Dempsey is one tough dude, and his name would be ideal for one strong baby. He once played for two games with a broken jaw before it was caught and then played through a sprained ankle. That's no joke. While you may not want your baby boy to be suffering sprains and breaks, it's good to know that he'll probably bounce back as quickly as his namesake. And it's perfect for the unconventional parent -- the name was very popular around 1900 but has since tapered off in popularity.

Demy: Can be spelled Demy or Demi (think girls' name here), but  Dutch player Demy de Zeeuw will be a good inspiration for either a little guy or gal. Demi, especially, has been on the rise lately. 2009 saw a resurgence of the once-popular name (it peaked in 1991, right after Demi Moore starred in Ghost), and it's once again climbing the ranks.

Diego: Diego Maradona may be retired, but his fame lives on. Diego is now the 130th most popular boy name in the U.S. and shows no signs of slowing down -- it was number 56 in 2006 and has held a top spot ever since.

baby names based on world cupEdin: After Bosnia & Herzegovina's Edin Dzeko, but you can mix up the spelling. Go for Eden, which is the number 158th most popular girl name in the U.S. and 643rd boy name.

Gareth: Gareth Bale of the Wales national team definitely has a unique name. It's a twist on Garreth, or Garett, but can be a unisex name for any little one.

Gerard: Spain's Gerard Piqué is known for his on-the-field abilities, as well as his off-the-field personal life. He's a gifted centre-back, who also plays for FC Barcelona, but is also recognized for his famous love interest. He's Shakira's boyfriend and father to their adorable son, Milan. While the dude is surely popular, his name has not been huge since 2000. So for a hipster and way-before-it-was-cool vibe, parents can opt for this funky name.

Godfrey: An unconventional form of Geoffrey or Jeffrey, Godfrey is also the first name of Nigerian defender, Godfrey Oboabona. The Germanic-based name means "peace of god" and has been held by some pretty famous guys like Godfrey the comedian.

Hugo: The name is almost immediately associated with famed writer Victor Hugo, or luxury designer Hugo Boss, but in the football world, it's the first name of the French goalkeeper, Hugo Lloris. For a different twist, you can go with Hugh, but remember that Ron and Hermione's son is named Hugo, so your little guy will have tons of pop culture and historical references. And while it's a semi-popular name in the U.S. (it was number 438 in 2013), it's huge in Spain, Belgium, and especially Sweden, where it's the third most popular.

Jozy: USA's own Jozy Altidore is a beast on the field. Despite a couple scoring droughts in recent years, he's practically silenced all critics with his impressive (massive understatement here) performances on the U.S. national team. Pick this name for a little future soccer star dude or dudette -- Josie makes for a wonderful moniker.

Leighton: Gossip Girl Leighton Meester made it popular for the ladies, but Leighton Baines of England has made it well-known for all football aficionados. The name can also be changed to Leyton or Layton and is most definitely unisex. Most recently, it's been the number 541 most popular name for the ladies, but Layton is more trendy with the gents (it was number 717 in 2013).

Lionel: Sure, you could say it's inspired by the crooner, Lionel Richie, but Argentina's Lionel Messi makes for a pretty great namesake. He's unanimously hailed as one of the best players to ever play the game (and some even call him the best), and his run and strike technique is feared by opponents. He captains his team and is the all-time top scorer on the FC Barcelona team. Not a shabby legacy for all future Lionels.

Luka: Croatian footballer Luka Modric is a star on Real Madrid's team and has led the squad to its 10th Champions League title. You can take his spelling or even switch it up a bit like Hilary Duff did when she named her little guy Luca, which is the 202nd most popular name for boys in 2013.

Marko: A play on the classic Marco, Germany's Marko Marin is a 25-year-old footballer who's making his second appearance at the World Cup. He's agile, quick, and light-footed, so don't be surprised to find yourself chasing your little Marko around the home.

Memphis: Twenty-year-old soccer star Memphis Depay is from the Netherlands, but his Americanized name is a popular trend. More and more parents are choosing location-based names for their little ones, so hop on this wagon while it's hot. The name itself peaked in 1970 and has steadily been in the top 300 names for the past four decades.

Rooney: Wayne Rooney is more than just a soccer star. He's a British celebrity. He's been playing professionally since he turned 16 and has led the team to winning five Premier League matches. You can go many ways with his name: go with Wayne for a boy, or Rooney for either boy or girl. The name literally means "red-haired," so consider this for your little ginger babe.

Xabi: It's a little unconventional, but Spanish footballer Xabier "Xabi" Alonso totally works his unique name. It's a spinoff of the classic Xavier, which is the 83rd most popular boy name in the U.S. right now. So give it a fun Spanish and non-traditional twist. Plus, it's pronounced "shavi."

Zinedine: You won't find this name on many baby lists, but Zinedine Zidane is a French force. He's most remembered for his infamous headbutt but is also one of the greatest players. The name is of Arabic origin, means "beauty of the faith," and has been most popular in France. 

Zoran: Serbia's player Zoran Tosic has a fairly popular name in his home nation. Zoran is one of the top male names in Serbia, but your little one will certainly be unique here. Or for an even more unconventional name, you can go with the feminine form: Zora, which means dawn or daybreak. 

Would you consider any of these names for your baby?

 

Images via Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr; ©iStock.com/kaarsten

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