A monthly look at the fans behind the U.S. National Teams. In this case, one special fan by the name of Randal Bird has gone and made himself part of U.S. Soccer history as the author of the contest-winning Philips/U.S. Soccer chant that will hopefully be a part of international matches for years to come.
GOALS! GOALS! GOALS! Chanting to Your Heart’s Content
When Philips Electronics joined U.S. Soccer in a partnership to help promote and develop the sport of soccer in the United States last June, their first order of business was launching a unique "chant" contest to challenge U.S. Soccer fans from all over the globe to log on to www.ussoccer.com and begin chanting to their hearts content.
Of course, choosing a winning chant for which hundreds of fans would eventually be asked to latch on to as their own was never going to be easy. Fans come in all different shapes and sizes. And so do stadium chants.
From the long and melodic melodies of "We all root for the red soccer team, the red soccer team, the red soccer team" (as sung to the lyrics of Yellow Submarine) to the less melodic but rhythmic eloquence of a European chant like "Stand up, if you hate Man U. ... Stand up, if you hate Man U.", they each have their own charm.
Which is why coming to a consensus on more than 1,000 submitted chants was not easy. But we think we picked a winner, with the winning chant ringing loud and clear with a refrain of:
GOALS! GOALS! GOALS! ... For the Red, White and Blue!
"Well, I read the criteria for the contest, and knew it needed something that you could repeat and build-up to so that everyone could get into it," said Randal Bird, recanting his thought process for his submission in a conversation from his home in Snohomish, Washington, just north of Seattle. "That’s why I came up with the ‘goals, goals, goals’ part. It’s simple, but memorable and gets stuck in your head."
Bird’s entire chant also includes a sing-songy refrain of:
Our hearts will never tire,
Our legs will see us through ...
(but as he said, it’s the...)
GOALS! GOALS! GOALS!
For the Red, White and Blue!
(...part that is just so darn memorable!)
Oh, you can roll your eyes now, but when that "Goals, goals, goals" refrain is stuck in your head tonight when you sit down to watch The Late Show, you’ll know exactly why Randal Bird took home the big prize (a Philips home-theater system).
"To think there were over 1,000 entries and mine was selected was a pleasant surprise," added Bird. "Home field advantage and building an intimidating spirit at the games is important."
A longtime soccer fan, Bird first fell in love with the game as a high school student in his native Pacific Northwest, rooting on the old Seattle Sounders of the North American Soccer League, where he had season tickets from the mid-’70s until the team folded in 1983.
To maintain his soccer fix, the Primera Blue Cross project manager turned his attention to the U.S. Men’s National Team, who began coming into prominence in the mid-1980s.
"I traveled to L.A. to see the U.S. play England in 1985," said Bird. "We lost 5-0, so that wasn’t good, but I remember a great goal from I think Gary Lineker, it was a full volley and very memorable. I don’t get to travel to too many games, so I usually watch on TV."
One match Bird got to see in person for the U.S. was the team’s 1-1 draw against Russia in 1994 at the Seattle Kingdome. In the last game the U.S. played on artificial turf, Bird was impressed by a plucky U.S. newcomer who made his mark in that game, "scoring a memorable goal off his hair."
"At that point, we didn’t really know who Alexi Lalas was, so we were calling him ‘clown man.’ He had quite a celebration after the goal. Lalas was always one of my favorite players after that; he was great for the game."
Nowadays, Bird lists forwards Brian McBride and Josh Wolff amongst his favorite active U.S. players, saying, "Players like that, well, after all these years of soccer moms and mini-vans, it is great to see the current breakthrough for U.S. Soccer and our young players."
Just like we’re hoping fans in the stands and at home will be taking part in and witnessing the breakthrough chant of "Goals! Goals! Goals!" at every U.S. Soccer match.
"Center Circle" (October 2001, Inaugural Issue)
In this Inaugural Issue of U.S. Soccer's new monthly fan newsletter / e-zine, you'll find the items listed below. Some will return next month, others will be entirely fresh for November.
1) Armchair Midfielder (MLS Playoffs)
2) Word Association (w/ MNT defender Jeff Agoos)
3) At the Movies (w/ U-17 MNT defenders Chris Lancos and Gray Griffin)
4) Queries and Anecdotes (w/ WNT midfielder Julie Foudy)
5) Big Woman on Campus (w/ WNT/U-21 WNT midfielder Aleisha Cramer)
6) Superstar!!! (w/ WNT forward Tiffeny Milbrett)
7) Mark That Calendar (2001 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup)
8) Point-Counterpoint (w/ journalists Jere Longman and Steve Davis)
9) From the Bleachers (w/ PHILIPS chant contest winner Randal Bird)
10) "You Don't Know Jack (Marshall)" (U.S. Open Cup history)