I believe that we will win!
"I believe that we will win!" is a chant commonly performed at sporting events. Originating in the Naval Academy Preparatory School, it became a tradition among fans and students of the United States Naval Academy. In 2014, the chant gained national recognition as a rallying call among United States men's national soccer team (USMNT) fans for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, becoming an unofficial motto of the team.
The chant is a call and response interaction between two parties. It begins with one call of "I," "I believe," followed by "I believe that," and "I believe that we," before concluding with repeated shouts of "I believe that we will win!"
In 1998, Naval Academy Preparatory School (NAPS) student Jay Rodriguez was assigned to create a chant to be used by his platoon and came up with "I believe that we will win!". It was first used during a NAPS basketball game against the United States Military Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island. A year later, now a Naval Academy student, Rodriguez taught it to his classmate, cheerleader Corey Strong, who began using it during the 1999 Army–Navy Game; in the fourth quarter of the 19–9 Navy victory, Strong led the 4,000-student Brigade of Midshipmen in the chant. In 2003, the Midshipmen team showed marked improvement over their 3–30 record in the last three years; during a game that year against the No. 25-ranked Air Force Falcons at FedExField, Navy students began reciting the chant as the Midshipmen won 28–25. In preparation for the Army–Navy Game later that year, Navy sold T-shirts with the phrase written on them. The chant is currently performed by midshipmen in the closing stages of a victory.
The chant eventually spread to other college sports, with fans of the Utah State Aggies men's basketball team adopting its usage in 2009. The SDSU Show of San Diego State University and Harvard Crimson students also performed it during games. Fans of various soccer clubs have also recited it, including the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer and French team FC Nantes. During the 2016 Ryder Cup, "U-S-A!" chants by American fans interspersed with calls of "I believe that we will win!"
United States soccer
According to Justin Brunken, co-founder of the U.S. soccer supporters' group The American Outlaws, he first heard the chant during a 2011 U.S. soccer game in Kansas City. He described it as "a chant that just grew from there and caught on and on. It resonated with the crowds across the country and became synonymous with what we believe in." It eventually became a rallying call by fans of the United States national men's soccer team (USMNT). For the 2014 FIFA World Cup, ESPN used the chant in two commercials promoting the Cup, one depicting The American Outlaws and the other featuring figures like Kevin Costner, Ice Cube and Barry Sanders. The cheer was also acknowledged by members of the USMNT, with goalkeeper Tim Howard posting it on his Twitter and receiving almost 60,000 retweets during the 2014 World Cup, Alejandro Bedoya leading FC Nantes fans in it after home games, and former captain Landon Donovan doing so prior to the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup final. The United States women's national soccer team went on to win the Cup after defeating Japan.
San Diego State University trademark
Strong, who was taught the chant by Rodriguez, was later stationed in San Diego and earned his Master of Business Administration at San Diego State. In 2011, San Diego State clothing store Aztec Shops Ltd. attempted to trademark the phrase. Strong opposed the trademark, stating "everybody would be best served if they removed their attempt to trademark the cheer" and that the Naval Academy would be resisting it. In 2017, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board rejected the trademark, saying it had been "widely used over a long period of time by various groups."
Usage in media
- "American Outlaws chants". The American Outlaws. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
- "USNA History and Traditions (Summer 2013)". Navy Midshipmen. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
- Stephens, Matt (July 7, 2014). "'I believe that we will win' could be trademarked by San Diego State". USA Today. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
- Brennan, Eamonn (November 17, 2011). "Coolest chant in the country began at Navy". ESPN. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
- "Watch: Bedoya leads Nantes fans in 'I believe that we will win!'". Sports Illustrated. May 9, 2016. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
- Williams, Roddy (September 30, 2016). "On the first tee: Ryder Cup under way". Ryder Cup. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
- Eisenberg, Jeff (June 19, 2014). "The improbable story of how the trendiest chant in sports began". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
- Hall, Matthew (July 7, 2014). "SDSU may trademark 'I believe that we will win!'". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
- "Landon Donovan leads 'I believe that we will win' chant before WWC final". Sports Illustrated. July 5, 2015. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
- "Watch: USWNT leads crowd in 'I believe that we just won' chant". Sports Illustrated. July 7, 2015. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
- ""I believe that we will win" the trademark". KFMB-TV. July 10, 2014. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
- Donahue, Bill (January 31, 2017). "TTAB Won't Register 'I Believe' Chant As Trademark". Law360. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
- Planos, Josh (July 19, 2018). "I Believe That We Will Win … At Golf". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
- Davis, Noah (May 2, 2011). "US Naval Academy Students Go ABSOLUTELY NUTS Celebrating Osama Bin Laden's Death [VIDEO]". Business Insider. Retrieved March 24, 2017.