Pirates Origins: Team Name

By: Oliver Nissi
Pirates Insider
February 15, 2021

Before a press conference was held in November 2017 to announce Massachusetts’ first arena football team in a decade’s time, Pirates founder and co-owner Jawad Yatim needed to create a team name. The story of how the organization landed on the ‘Pirates’ is one worth telling and is something all Massachusetts sports fans should hear.

The year was 2016 and Jawad Yatim had just returned to the United States after playing professional arena football in China. He was twenty-seven years old and was about ready to hang up the cleats for the last time. Within the next calendar year, Yatim began planning to start a new professional arena football team in Massachusetts.

The Shrewsbury, MA native had previously collected hands-on experience with Massachusetts’ most recent arena team, the New England Surge, who played at Worcester’s DCU Center in 2007 and 2008. At that time, Yatim was playing quarterback at Shrewsbury High School and his fitness trainer, Roy Lucas, was the owner and founder of the Surge. In addition, Yatim came to meet the head coach of the Surge in Jerry Snay, who just happens to be the current Pirates special teams, defensive line and linebackers coach. It’s crazy how small the world feels sometimes.

Lucas eventually invited Yatim to practices with the Surge. It was the first time Yatim had been on the same field as professionals. This was all before Yatim’s collegiate and professional football career, but was perhaps the seed that started the thought process of Yatim wanting to bring arena football back to Massachusetts in 2017.

Leading up to the Massachusetts Pirates’ first press conference, Yatim had been debating different team name options for some time. When asked where he was when he made the final decision to go with the ‘Pirates’, one would say Yatim was in his dojo.

This pirate stands inside the New England Pirate Museum in Salem, MA.

“It was right before I went to sleep one night,” he told masspiratesfootball.com. “I was in my bed going over all the different options and then it hit me. The Pirates was the best option.”

Similar to how other Massachusetts sports team names pay homage to historical events, Yatim feels the Pirates do the same, but also prefers to be a little different from the rest.

“I wanted the name to be distinguishable, but at the same time to be relevant and to have some meaning in context to the area, and Pirates do have history here in New England. Most other teams pay tribute to the revolutionary war and colonial times. We feel the Pirate theme wasn’t common in the professional sports industry here in our area, but is a common theme amongst sports in general so it was easier to study different sales and marketing tactics within operating an organization.”

The ‘Pirates’ name is also aimed to be fun for fans and families coming to Pirates home games. The team’s signature colors fit nicely with the appearance inside the DCU Center, as the arena seats are coated in gold and teal colors. The gold seats also specifically fit the ‘treasure’ feel.

Now after having time to reflect, Yatim feels at peace with his decision and points out that results on the field matter most.

“I think we made the right decision. We’ve had a positive response from our fans on the name so we are happy with it. But our product itself is more important than what we call ourselves. I feel in general we are creating our own space here in the professional sports industry in New England and we wouldn’t be able to do that without a positive response from our fan base.”

The Massachusetts Pirates are set to begin their fourth year as an organization and third on the field this April. After clinching playoff appearances in their first two seasons, team personnel, coaches and players are chasing a championship this season. The Pirates have come a long way in their brief history and feel they have set a strong foundation on which to grow. They hope to be around for a long time.

The Massachusetts Pirates are members of the Indoor Football League (IFL). The Pirates play all home games at the DCU Center located at 50 Foster St. Worcester, MA. 01608. For more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508) 452-MASS (6277), email contact@masspiratesfootball.com or visit http://www.masspiratesfootball.com. Single-game tickets will be available soon at ticketmaster.com or the DCU Center Box Office. For season, half-season, luxury, or group ticket packages please call 508-452-MASS (6277). Follow the Pirates on Facebook via Facebook.com/MAPirates, Instagram @mass.pirates, and Twitter @mass_pirates. #GetHooked #AllAboard