It’s fine by me if USA fans chant in Spanish

I saw a bit of a Twitter flare up this week over the issue of fans of the USA cheering or singing in Spanish.

That seems a bit needless to me. Lots of people in the US speak Spanish, lots of USA fans speak Spanish, lots of our players speak Spanish. So why not do a bit of singing or chanting in Spanish?

Here in DC, United supporters have sung and chanted in Spanish for as long as I can remember. Why should supporting the USA be any different than that?

America’s Latino community is a major pillar of American soccer support and participation. Throwing in some Spanish-language songs and chants during matches seems like a no-brainer to me.

It seems to me that if you do have a problem with that, you might be trying to impose your own politics on the sport, something that really isn’t necessary.

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82 thoughts on “It’s fine by me if USA fans chant in Spanish

  1. Not an issue. When the fans of the club teams in this country use more than one language to support the home team, you have to figure more than one language will be used to support the national team.

  2. This one individual debating you on Twitter is very much in the minority. In all the U.S. matches I’ve been to I have not heard a single person gripe about the “Soy un Gringo”, “Dos a cero”, etc. chants.

  3. I could care less what language they support the US of A so long as they support us. Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, whatever…. chant for the US, not against!

  4. It’s always the monolingual chest thumping morons who get their panties in a bunch anytime they hear a language that isn’t English.

  5. When I will see any other Spanish speking country’s fans chanting in English, I will chant in Spanish. Until then, this is America, the official language is English and I will stand and sing loud and proud in English

  6. …that, and no one is putting a gun to your head and forcing you to chant in Spanish. Just that if other US fans want to do it, what’s the harm?

  7. As has been pointed out, there is no official language in the U.S.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    freedom of speech includes the language in which speech is delivered.

    And what language would an official language be, since the first settlement in the US was Spanish speaking. California, Florida, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado were all Spanish speaking before English and have continued to have a large number of Spanish speakers to this day. That’s a third of the US population right there…maybe we should all speak Spanish? Do puertoriquenos need to speak Ingles too?

    Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, a fair bit of Illinois, etc. were Francophone. And of course the first European handed a bagel in New York City resonded with a “Dank u Wel.”

    And that ignores the whole issue of indigenous languages…

  8. True, but a lot of states do have English as their official language.

    Either way thats beside the point. These are chants during a soccer game, not legislation introduced to make Spanish an/the official language. Really who cares.

    As someone else once said “English in the US is in as much danger of being replaced as football, pizza, and apple pie”

  9. From what little Spanish I know, it seems that the chants in Spanish are a bit more rude than the English ones.

    I guess that keeps the soccer moms from getting too upset. Well, the ones who don’t know any Spanish anyways.

  10. That is what the country is all about. We have so many damn cultures and languages so why not show it. I think it makes us more unique than other countries.

  11. And as my father would chant “Fi a seero, Fi a seero, Fi a seero. Wey ta mino… hu give a son of a gun of Amerikano futbol… dey no gud… Mehico is da gigante”

  12. I have been to two US national team games against teams from Spanish speaking countries. On both occasions the crowd was overwhelming in favor of the visitor. If people come out to support the US and choose to sing in Spanish I have zero percent problem with it.

  13. Born in the US of Argentine parents, I’m fortunate enough to speak both languages fluently. An issue I have is the failure to adapt certain basic Spanish language chants to an American English language equivelant*. I actually find it easier to sing the spanish songs I know, merely substituting the US or USA or the team.
    The only successful reinvention i can think of is the “goooooooooooooo USA (clap,clap,clap) U S A! U S A! Go U S A!!” Wildly popular, fun to chant, but a lonely cheer.

    Convert common Spanish (biased here, but the Argentinian chants are the best) songs sung by many teams to English, and we have our Western Hemispere English language chants to be sung by the masses. All in time for the 2026 World Cup!

    * I’m tired of the Anglophiles in this country adapting the English cheers simply because of the language. I don’t want the US soccer fan base to be considered English fan wannabes. The EPL sucka55es that populate this country are bad enough, a full fledged pilferig of their boring songs would throw us back to Colonial times. We might as well change our name to Northern Fukin’ Ireland if we go that route. We are not Great Britain … As Ricky Bobby would say, “This is America, Dam_nit!”

  14. That seems as closed-minded as the “English only for US fans” crowd. You’ll take my shouting “Puto” at an opposing goal kick from my cold dead gabacho fingers

  15. hahahaha, sounds like Ricky Bobby: “this is Americahhh”. The fact of the matter is there are latinos in America that ARE AMERICANS. We will chant for the same cause, hell, chant in arabic if that floats your boat, as long as we are supporting our boys!

  16. An official language in the US does not exist, read the constitution.
    English is widely recognized as a common language for almost everything, but whether we like it or not, Spanish is spreading out at a phenomenal speed. In the US there are some 50mln people either hispanic or by hispanic descent, I wouldn’t call that a minority and neither their language.

  17. Yeah besides everone knows the official Language is Navajo or Apache or um damm even the NATIVE AMERICANS didnt have an official language.

  18. Well, actually, yes, technically those 50 million people are still a minority – meaning there are not as many hispanics (14%) in the USA as Caucasions (67%). Please don’t tell me it is now politically incorrect to not use the word minority. There is no malice in that word. Whether you are part of the minority or the majority, I don’t give two crapoolas. But to say a less amount of one group of people is not a minority to a much greater amount of one group of people is defying mathematics. Oh crap, mathematics! That’s probably a polictically incorrect word now, too.

  19. More to the point, about 30 million people speak Spanish at home.

    For a number of reasons that would require a long, detailed, explanation of politics, demographics, and economics, Spanish is unlikely to ever become a majority language in the US or even close to, but it certainly is the second language of our country and sets us apart from the rest of the anglosphere like French and Canada.

  20. I’m sure there are other examples in the soccer world of fans doing a song, chant, or banner in the language of the opponent in order to better get under that opponents skin.

  21. When I was at the USA vs Italy match in the 2006 world cup in Germany at the stadium in Kaiserslautern there is an Italian chant I will never forget since I understood it.

    To those Italians I apologize for brutalizing your language here but I am going on what it sounds like for spelling.

    The Italians were all jumping up and down singing “Qui no salta, Americano, oh oh OH, oh oh OH, oh oh OH OH OH, qui no salta, Americano, oh OH oh OH ohhhhh.”

    In english it is “He who does not jump, is American, oh oh etc.”

    Watching tens of thousands of Italians singing that and all jumping up and down gave me chills in my arms, and I’m American. That is the kind of stuff in soccer that makes this game special for the fans. I wish US fans would get better chants but the truth is since the USSF has games spread out across our great land, and no official home, a true home crowd development is extremely hard to come by. Fans first need to go to these games on a regular basis but its impossible to do when you are a USMNT fan unless you spend a lot of money traveling the country.

  22. Who cares about what language we’ll be cheering in?

    I just wish we could agree on what color shirt to wear to the matches and not be counted as supporting the other team.

  23. The Italians were all jumping up and down singing “Qui no salta, Americano, oh oh OH, oh oh OH, oh oh OH OH OH, qui no salta, Americano, oh OH oh OH ohhhhh.”

    The exact spelling would be “chi non salta e’ un americano” (ch in Italian is pronounced K, there’s no K in Italian alphabeth). It’s a very common chant throughout the country and at times something gets added to it – for example in Pisa we sing “chi non salta e’ un fiorentino, la maiala di su ma'” – which translates “who doesn’t jump is a fiorentino, and his mother is a slut”

  24. Not that I agree with his opinion or have a problem with Spanish chants but what’s wrong with wanting an English speaking country to chant in English? Why does that have to be portrayed as hateful or racist?

    I don’t go to Bundesliga games expecting to hear chants in English, I learn the German ones (actually that’s part of the fun) and I certainly wouldn’t expect to hear them at a national team match.

  25. Because he was clearly being a dick about it and asserting something that is demonstrably false.

    This is a country that speaks an enormous number of languages. The main one is English, but it’s rarely to the exclusion of others, except by nativist assholes. I mean, hell, if you went by prevalence, much of Scandinavia should be chanting exclusively in English since English is very widely used there, especially between people of the different countries. English is the lingua franca of a massive chunk of the world. There’s not a huge leap from his logic train that says everyone in those countries should be chanting in Englis.

    And part of the fun of living in a heterogeneous country like the US is learning languages and cultures which are different from the norm.

  26. I love chanting in Spanish.

    You know why?

    The other teams and the other teams’ fans completely and utterly freak out when they know that we can get under their skin. “No se puede,” for example.

    In fact, we’re such a melting pot we have the wherewithal to learn chants in Italian, French, Farsi, Swahili, and Arabic (especially the latter, since we’ll have the power to tell Osama bin Laden to stick his head up his keister on national television).

  27. Guess it doesn’t sound as cool going “Come on, United States, this night, we have to win” lol. I guess it could work, but since it is an original Spanish chant is sounds better in that language to me.

  28. I can always count on my favorite fellow BigSoccer libertarian/Steve Cohen man-crushed Timon to rain hellfire on some blogger. Don’t hurt ’em, Hammer!!

    “El que no salta es hincha de Obama! El que no salta es hincha de Obama!”

    For anyone who gets FSC and has the time to watch one of the argentine primera games, listen how nice a Spanish song/chant sounds when everyone knows it and participates. USMNT fans should be able to sound like that. If you can say “en fuego” “Yo quiero Taco Bell” you should be able to sing these songsd, not that complicated. Really.

    Organization and movement to post a song, both the audio and the words, in addition to a phonetic equivelant … And we could all sound like La Hinchada Que Nunca Abandona, Newell’s Old Boys loud and proud fans. Glorious.

  29. I’ve never seen anyone getting upset at people singing in Spanish at a soccer game.

    Have these people ever attended a match and sat in the supporters section? You hear “estados unidos” all the time, i do it , no one has said anything to me.

  30. There’s nothing wrong with chanting in Spanish when we play some Spanish speaking country but I swear to God if I go to South Africa and hear people chanting in Spanish at the England game I will freak. Wtf is the point? Any American who can afford to get tickets and travel there is clearly upwardly mobile enough to understand English. It’s not like Spanish is an inherently better chanting language.

    So in summation: chanting in the language of an opponent=good, chanting in any given random-ass language which has no relation to the game=bad.

  31. Since we won our Independence we don’t have to do anything English that we don’t want to, speech included.

    No language is foreign to the free.

  32. You seem like the type that likes to take opinions to the extreme very quickly. I saw nothing of the sort in said comment but for some reason in this country it’s become an enviroment where if someone expresses the view that they would rather the country hold on to it’s farmiliar traditions or values, they are automatically labled a small-minded racist and for some reason are no longer considered of just being proud and in support of where they came from. This is the only country in the world I have ever been to that has that double-standard. The fact that you are asserting that what he said is at all close to equalling all countries should speak English and follow American traditions shows that you obviously had some predisposition against that outlook to begin with and I think the only stop on your “logic train” is a place called Paranoidville.

    And yes, it is absolutely fun to share in the exchange of culture and languages, and even as big of a melting pot as the US is, it’s still a rediculous notion that one can’t support the origins from the culture of their country without being labled a bigot.

  33. This is what he said:
    1. English is not the official language of the United States. There is no official language.
    2. He’s drawing a bizarre false equivalence (that a lot of people – typically nativists – bizarrely do).
    3. Both of these = dickishness.

    If he had said that, he might have not been responded to as severely. Instead, he said that we should stick to our official language, which doesn’t exist.

    Did I ever call the guy a racist? I usually only save that for complete and utter ********-knuckles because it’s a serious charge.

    Why is English chanting a pre-requisite for being proud of being from the US? His attitude seeks to admonish people for speaking other languages while expressing that pride. That’s dickish. The view by Stollar and others allows that anyone speaking any language can be proud of being from the US and there are no hurt feelings garnered from hearing a different tongue.

    Guess you’ve never been to France (except they DO have an official language there), or much of Europe. Though terming it a double-standard is a bit steep. What makes you think it so?

    All I can say is that you pretty badly misread my post. I’ve read and re-read my own post and tried to construe it the way you’re talking about and I come up empty. I think you’re seeing things that aren’t there.

    Umm…exactly? But, see, his post really doesn’t do that.

    In any case, he can be a bigot (or not) all he wants as long as he’s not violating anyone’s rights. If he’s being a bigot (or not), I or anyone else can certainly call him one here, subject to Huss’ whims. Or not.

    I think you’re arguing against an apparition.

  34. Who’s traditions and values exactly is it that this country is supposed to hold on to? The indigenous peoples, the first conquering nation, the second conquering nation, the third conquering nation, or who exactly?

    How about we go with the country from which the most people have immigrated? Which would be Germany (most people forget that German was the widest spoken language other than English in the US until WWII knocked it out of popularity). Even if you add up all the people who claim to come from English speaking countries (and we’ll just assume everyone from Ireland, Wales, and Scotland were English speakers) it only comes to 37.5% of the population. (source)

  35. [quote=Timon19;bt51573]This is what he said:

    I’m not going to get into a semantics debate with you over something that has little to do with football. English has and will most likely always be the official language of this country, I’m not sure at what point in history since the collection of these territories as a country that you believe there is this time warp where it wasn’t or isn’t now, but I hate to break it to you, it is and has been since our official formation.

    Again, that’s your opinion, the comment was pretty short to have construed so much about it from so little.

    I’m not sure what country you’re living in, but it’s not the United States. Yes, there are a huge mix of different languages here but the country has always been an English speaking country officially.

    Just because the large majority of people who follow the sport that live in the United States speak Spanish doesn’t automatically mean that English isn’t our official language.

    I never said you did, I’m simply alluding to where this arguement usually goes. People get frustrated and throw out labels on a person as a way of “winning” the argument (“Oh, well if he doesn’t agree with me, he must be a racist” – type of thing ), I’m not saying you did (or will) it’s just where this discussion usually ends up when I’ve had it before.

    Again, I’m not saying I agree with his opinion but I don’t beleive he is saying it should be the ONLY language we can chant in just that it’s pretty confusing when a large majority of the country doesn’t even speak that language past one or two phrases.

    Let me put it this way, don’t you think it would be a little silly if say 80% of the people in the stands at the first game against England (or better yet any Spanish speaking country in any competition) that are chanting and singing songs in Spanish and don’t even know what it means. Then, after the game, they have fluent Spanish speakers approach them and they don’t speak a bit past the formalties.

    I’ve been to France, and *gasp* heard the common people speaking French, sure a lot of people speak English there it’s the same way in Germany, a lot of people there speak broken drunken English better than my best German on a good day, that doesn’t mean in either country I don’t know what the official language is just because a diversity exists. There’s no sense of guilt about it like there is in America, or at least none that I encountered. In some European countries it’s ok to be a snob to someone if they don’t speak the country’s language, in the United States, you get branded a bigot, it’s the nature of out soceity. In parts of Germany I’ve been treated (for lack of a more technical term) like crap after attemping to carry a conversation on in English or after they hear my American accent, if I received anything close to this treatment in the touchy-feely over-emotional state of the US, I’d have 20 civil rights groups all over trying to help me get restitution but it doesn’t bother me one bit, it’s just a difference in enviroment (In my experience Germans as a people tend to be frank, honest, and not “fakely” polite and I love that about them). You list them (France) and then go on to say that they do, in fact, have an official language. I’m sorry, but that argument is rediculous.

    Again, a lot of what I posted wasn’t in direct response to a quote from you, more where I’ve seen this arguement tread.

    In your opinion it doesn’t, in mine it does. Albeit, he used a bad example and didn’t phrase it quite right, there’s no need to be so dramatic about it.

  36. Looks like you came here to argue semantics too. The bottom line is the country has always spoken English as a first language, it’s the official language no matter the percentage or popularity of other languages. No one is saying other languages don’t have a place here but if you are seriously attempting to prove that this country isn’t an English speaking country first and foremost then go right ahead, all the figures and statistics in the world won’t change that.

  37. Excellent job avoiding my question. You wouldn’t happen to be a politician, would you?

    You said:
    I asked, “who’s traditions and values?” Why is that so hard for your to answer? Why must you try to turn that around and argue something else? I certainly hope it’s not because you can’t answer that because the only answer is “his/her traditions and values” which clearly could be different than a lot of other people’s traditions and values. Even people from the same country could have different traditions and values (why else would different political parties exist?). For me personally, I know the Scottish side of my family has different ones than the German side. I can’t tell you whose of the two should be number 1. Both seem equally valid to me. So, now, why don’t you answer my question? That’s all I wanted.

    P.S. Sure, you might label it semantics but stating that English is the “official” language is straight up misinformation and a blatant lie (why else would organisations such as U.S. English be spreading misinformation and lies to try to make it official?). You can say it is the de-facto language, the most widely used language, and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future (sorry to use statistics again, but if you look at the census records you can see that the raw number of English speakers is still rising faster than Spanish speakers). So no, I’m not saying “this country isn’t an English speaking country first and foremost”. I’m just saying it’s not official and the majority of people in this country are not from England and have different traditions and values. And that is what has made this country what it is. For better or for worse. And trying to pigeonhole 300 million people into one or even two groupings of traditions and values is impossible (hence why our two party system is falling apart at the seams).

  38. How about the traditions and values that the country has had ingrained into it’s identity since it’s birth? Why bother addressing a question when you already know your answer won’t sway the opinion of the questioner no matter what you say?

    English is the primary output source of a large majority of press in this country (the more popular outlets anyway) as well as the primary output language of a significant portion of media (books, sitcoms, movies, music, etc). Not even to mention the documentation that this country based it’s establishment of independence on as well as the language used on it’s offical currency and nearly all of the documentation outlining it’s entire system of government. If it’s not the official language, at least by technicality, they sure do a good job of hiding it.

  39. The traditions and values of an amalgam of colonists (English, French and Spanish all had colonial holdings here in 1776), natives, and immigrants, you mean?

    Yes. So?

    So? They had to pick something. But they were careful not to codify two really big things: religion and language. There are reasons for that.

    You mean Latin?

    Again, so?

    It’s not official because it’s not given the sanction of the state, like in most other nations. It’s a very important distinction and is not a technicality. Again, there are good reasons for this and anyone truly understanding the founding of our nation realizes that.

  40. Again, who’s traditions and values are those? In 1776, my Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather fought for the US in the revolutionary war… guess what he was 100% German. His father and mother were born in Germany. He was the first born in the US. And he lived in a region of Pennsylvania where everyone else was German. So guess what language he spoke? Guess what traditions and values he had? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying everyone should be speaking German. Just showing that this country has been a multi-national immigrant country since it’s birth. That’s my point. There is no 1 set of traditions and values. You have yours. I have mine. Glen Beck has his. Keith Olberman has his. Each is equally valid in it’s own way.

    (Please note: I am not being some idiot trying to make it seem you claimed that we should go back to slavery and women should have no vote. I understand you are not saying that. This is to further prove my statement below)

    How can you make such presumptions about me when you don’t even know me? That is quite inconsiderate. I think of myself as being very open minded. I am an Anthropologist and I try to see things from the bigger picture and from all sides. And if I am wrong about something, I will readily admit it. The problem is I am asking you a question that you can not give a firm answer to.

    I am not and was not debating that at all.

    Yes they do. I believe 30 states have made English official, and even if all 50 make it official, it still does not make it official for the US as a country. If you support making it official, then by all means, join up with US English. I don’t support them at all, but I recognise that some people will agree with them and I am not trying to prevent that. I just wish they would stop using fear and misinformation as tactics to gain supporters.

  41. Yep. One of the reasons for this is because this is not one of the rights enumerated to the Federal government in the Constitution, and thus becomes the province of the several states. Some of the states have chosen to exercise that right.

  42. Unfortunately, the government has passed quite a bit of legislation that was not allowed by the constitution. So there is no guarantee that will prevent them from making English official. But it will probably end up going to the supreme court if they do pass it. (P.S. I am a Libertarian too)

  43. [quote=Timon19;bt51599]I’m sorry, I missed the part where those collections of natives and colonists who not only stayed but participated/contributed in the formation denounced the legitimacy of the United States as it is known now.

    Are you really going to be that petty as to nitpick one phrase in Latin surrounded by English? How did I predict to see that response before I even posted it?

    Well, how can you argue with insanely well constructed and clever rebuttals like “So?” and “Again, so?”

    Anyway, it’s obvious we’re heading in circles here and a history lesson or arguing the technical official language is headed away the from the original issue. Chant what you want, in whatever language you want as long as it’s not racist and is in support of the USMNT, but just because someone is not in support of chanting in a language that they don’t speak and is secondary, despite your outlook, in said country doesn’t make them wrong.

  44. That I agree with. The key word there is “support.” Anyone can support or not support chanting in whatever language they want. The problem is when they go from not supporting it (which is rather passive) to outright negativity and hatred towards it (which becomes active). And then you start to get altercations between the different sides rather than the unity we should have.

  45. Que?

    Well, if we really want to get picky, it’s more than one depending on denomination. Was I being snarky? Yep. I wish I could say I was sorry, but I’m not.

    I should hope that you’d be able to offer something. The rebuttals make a point. Sucks that you either ignored the point or didn’t see it, but alas.

    Yes, but they inform the original issue. If all we did was stay perfectly on-topic, the Internet would be a boring place.

    We agree here.

    It doesn’t make them wrong, no. But it does make them a dick depending on how they present it. When it’s presented with false information and false equivalences, it’s quite dickish.

    It’s interesting to note that the guy whose post we’re arguing about has yet to return to either explain his remarks further or revise them. You’re expending a lot of energy speaking for him in the meantime.

    Just strange, is all.

  46. There is no need or point for any Spanish speaking country to chant in English unless there are English speaking fans in that country. Your argument makes no sense. Here in the United States there are many fans of local club teams who learned English as a second language. If there are a group of them all rooting for the same local team they shouldn’t be able to chant in Spanish? It’s not good enough that they actually chose to support and American club? Now we’re going to tell them HOW to support the club as well? I have read every comment so far and I have yet to hear a logical reason why US fans should only be chanting in English, other than “This is America”

  47. Yes, but the study posted on USA Today specifically listed Non-Hispanic White at 67%, which is why I used such language. Had nothing to do with me not remembering.

  48. Well… I live in Mexico and I can say “Esto es América también” from a spanish speaker view (in Spanish, América is the whole “continent”, the Americas in english…) and that doesn’t make me chant in English.

    that actually can be possible in Panama.

    Well… here Mexican barras bravas chant in “Angertinian” (is pretty odd… as an USAmerican chanting with an Australian accent) but well… if they want to, I can’t ask them to change it… is just cuz Argentinean chants are the most known & the closest influence Mexicans are exposed to… same for USAmericans, the closest footballer (or soccer) chants influence are Spanish speaking people in the US… naturally those ones Hispanic people use will be the first chants… later will evolve from that base (again with Mexican example, now there are some original Mexican chants as [ame=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDAsIaYkfq8″]”Vamos Monterrey, queremos la copa”[/ame] but following the Argentinian “format” & style). ;D

  49. First off, the United States does not have an Official National Language. And secondly, South Africa has 7, Europe has 200, Ethiopia has different language for every town. And they seem to be able to get by!! Yet, The United States, the greatest country in the world, can only deal with ONE. C’mon we have to be better or at least smarter then that. One Language. When it comes to the Metric System, Boobs on television, and other languages… as country… We’re Scared!!

  50. Perhaps chanting in Spanish would be better suited for baseball so the majority of the players will understand it.

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