US Soccer Fan Chants are Proof that American Soccer Culture Is Bland and Stale

Although there are plenty of promising aspects of American soccer, there is still a certain blandness when it comes to the beautiful game in the States — most evident in the fan chants for the national teams. 

American soccer culture, particularly white American soccer culture, is a special type of bad. While to the world the beautiful game is something that extends between generations, race, class, gender, and all elements of society, on the contrary American soccer is niche and reserved for smaller pockets of society that rarely connect and grow despite youth soccer’s continuous popularity across the country.

It’s not that we struggle from a lack of history or of understanding of the game. We in fact have both of those things in droves. We struggle in that distinctly American sense of having no idea what to do when an entity is completely taken over by corporate giants who use their power to extract all the profit and nutrients out of a product and ruin everything else in the process. The corporatization of sport is prevalent around the world, but its timing has affected soccer in the United States the most.

Countries in nearly every continent on the globe were able to develop their own organic soccer cultures before the corporate overlords took away the soul of the game. In the U.S., that wasn’t so much the case, which has forced American fans to mimic what they see in other “proper” soccer countries with a slight Stars and Stripes twist.

american outlaws us soccer

The American Outlaws, particularly white as well, have an official website that lists a large number of official chants that at best are boring and at worst are either embarrassingly cringe or corny.

These songs illustrate just how barren the cultural landscape is when it comes to soccer in America. The first chant they list is called “We Love Ya,” and it’s a repetitious chant about  — you guessed it — loving the team and following them anywhere. But it just feels decidedly un-American and uninspired.

It doesn’t feel like something organically grown from large crowds having a great time, but instead something handed down by a group of nerds who want to create a facade of a crowd being into a match.

For a typical American sports fan, the closest you come to singing at a sporting event is either if you end up on the court for the National Anthem, if you’re inspired by a familiar song playing over the loudspeakers, or if you’re booing the ref so much you hit an F-sharp 5 by accident.

Even forcing this idea of learning chants or something to properly support the team misses the mark. Chants for teams need to be passed down orally, not compiled on a website with YouTube video examples to copy. Even while I can see how that would be helpful, it doesn’t feel right or authentic.

Yes, this is a snobby sports fan perspective but it’s a snobby American sports perspective, so it still has some relevance to the conversation. I grew up a snobby Duke basketball fan and when I would be lucky enough to go to the games, that’s when I would learn the cheers or the chants or the hand movements. Then at home I could practice those while watching games on TV.

It was a very fun and organic way to understand how to participate as a fan. Duke is known for having a “crazy environment” at their games in Cameron Indoor Stadium, but it’s really nothing that special. Their formula is one that hasn’t been replicated in American soccer because everyone is too concerned with some sort of image of what a “proper soccer chant” is supposed to sound and feel like. But really, it’s as simple as gathering a bunch of passionate (and very likely inebriated) college kids around a court and telling them to go crazy.

There are certainly passionate fans both in and outside the American Outlaws supporters’ group, but their voices seem to have been either ignored or overlooked in favor of the current sterile nature of the chants. It doesn’t feel like there’s a desire to create a memorable experience or a raucous environment for the national teams to play in front of, but rather one that parrots what we’ve seen from other countries.

There is a strong argument that the corporatization of soccer in this country before we could truly build an identity of our own is to blame here. However, there’s a lot of money being left on the table by not making soccer culturally significant.


  1. So you want America to have a soccer culture comparable to other countries who have had domestic leagues for decades when the US has only had the MLS for like 25 years? Makes total sense. Let’s create a college basketball league in England and see how comparable it is to NCAA basketball culture in 25 years 🙄

    • No, that’s not the point I was making with the article. I’m criticizing the fan culture around the US soccer team and how it’s often corny and cringey when it doesn’t need to be. Professional soccer has existed in America for over 100 years. MLS is not where professional soccer began in this country. We’ve had plenty of time to develop authentic traditions and we just haven’t. Because we haven’t, different groups (like American Outlaws) have come in to try to create it themselves and it just doesn’t resonate with me.

      • We Love You started at St. Pauli FC. A lot of our fans agree with a lot of the same stuff that St. Pauli believe in. We in Columbus had adapted it in 2008 (Celtic did around the exact same time), and made it ours (this happens all around the world, and let’s face it, in the US you travel a hell of a lot farther to support your team). I chanted it in Columbus. I chanted it in Toronto that season. I chanted it in Chicago that season. And I chanted it in LA at MLS Cup that season. And if you watched the MLS Cup broadcast, you would see at the very tail end, MLS 2008 season and MLS Cup 2008 MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto started singing We Love You, trying to get the rest of the team to join him.

        American Outlaws took it from us after we chanted it for at least that season and adapted it for the 2009 Hex, I’m pretty sure. If not then, I think they were using it by the 2010 WC Finals. How long have you been going to USMNT qualifiers, exactly?

        Many chants are spread across the world. I know that the chant that started in Columbus, “Yo Si La Voy”, that traditionally follows We Love You, has spread to other clubs, it appears the USL Club in EL Paso is using it and Chicago Fire has used it, too.

        The fact is, it seems like you really love to pile on to US soccer culture, and it really is people like you who actually help hold the sport down here by constantly crapping on MLS and USMNT supporters groups like AO who, while certainly not being perfect, are at least supporting the team loudly. Do you expect there to have been magical chants passed down from 100 years of futbol in the US that is non-linear and has basically no connection? The only thing tying all of those years together is the existence of the US Open Cup. Some teams can trace their “identity” back to the 70s, like the Timbers and Sounders, but those were radically different teams, in radically different leagues, and if you need ANY proof that there is no culture through line, just look at ANY city that had a USL team prior to their getting an MLS team. Look at the attendance differences. Toronto Lynx – Toronto FC kicked it off. You can see the difference between the USL versions of the Timbers and the Sounders and their MLS incarnations. Look at the Atlanta Silverbacks. How about the fact that what is currently Orlando City, and was Orlando City in USL, was one of the multiple incarnations of the Austin Aztex. Or, the DAY AFTER AUSTIN ANNOUNCED A NEW USL CLUB, Precourt said he was using his out to move our team to Austin, because he knew if he got in there quickly, he could get the attendance there. And sure enough, the attendance is there for them. But MLS did what it did because the owners were familiar with the failures of the NASL. Especially the founder of my team, Lamar Hunt. One of the grandfathers of professional sports in this nation. 3 different professional sports halls of fame. He knew how it needed to be set up in order to not fail. But I also bet that if he were still alive, he also probably would have killed off single entity by now once there was an owner for every team.

        But I digress. As far as other evidence of culture from the “100 year history” (116, but who is counting), are there recordings of Bethlehem Steel FC chants we need to be made aware of, that Alexander Graham Bell himself recorded? If so, let’s go. But until then, nah.

        As it has been shown, other teams borrow from other teams in other leagues all the time. Pretty sure that capos and tifo and using flares and smoke didn’t organically originate simultaneously everywhere. So maybe realize that the nation that has not had a continual soccer identity in a top flight league for even 30 years isn’t going to suddenly magically start coming up with new stuff on their own constantly. Hell, we barely finished saving our team from Precourt and we had to then save the identity of it less than 2 years later. And we will stand up for it, again and again, over and over.

        • Appreciate the lengthy and well-worded response, eboe. It is just my shit-talking opinion here and I wouldn’t expect it to go down well with someone as involved as you seem to be. My fandom and fans like me experience the national team in this way and unfortunately don’t love everything about it – this doesn’t mean that we don’t watch or support the team – but rather we watch and support the team and then criticize the elements we don’t love. I’m an American sports fan and watch and attend all types of sporting events across the board and for whatever reason the soccer chanting for the national team just hits a special cringe nerve for me and so this article attempted to diagnose that.

          • I just find that it isn’t only you. There are multiple writers on here who have this same attitude, and there are stories in this league, things that would be very compelling if they only got the attention they deserved.

  2. The ‘American Outlaws’ are fucking nerd bombers who don’t know what a proper chant is and i guarantee that 99% of them have never been punched in the face. “I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN!” holy christ how cringe and pathetic can you get. The writer of this article is spot on and I am truly embarrassed by our “soccer fans”. It’s nerd city nation with these idiots who have never played competitively at a high level. I would bet all the tea in China that the majority of this fanbase were total douchebags in highschool/college and they represent our American soccer team……. woof

Leave a Reply