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‘I Believe That We Will Win’ Cheer Was Born At The Naval Academy

The cheer that proclaims, “I think we’re going to win!” has thrilled followers of the US males’s nationwide workforce for almost a decade. You’ll doubtless hear it when the United States performs on the Qatar World Cup this month, however it first echoed in a stadium at US Naval Academy soccer video games, thanks partly to members of one other sports activities workforce on the college.

US followers have been already heard cheering in the course of the USMNT video games in Qatar. But in line with former midshipmen, the cheer made its debut on the 1999 Army-Navy soccer recreation and is maybe most carefully related to the 2004 Navy lacrosse workforce, a roster with a particular place in Annapolis lore. This workforce got here near successful the nationwide championship and was led by Brendan Looney, a future Navy SEAL who was later killed in Afghanistan.

I believe we will win USMNT

USA followers chant “I Believe” at a 2015 USA Women’s World Cup recreation. Photo by ANDY CLARK.

ANDY CLARK/AFP by way of Getty Images

“It started in front of us, but it wasn’t really a big song,” stated Graham Gill, a Navy All American lacrosse participant who went on to develop into a Naval Aviator (I interviewed Gill and several other of his teammates concerning the cheers earlier than the final World Cup look of the USA in 2014).

“Growing up in New Jersey, I remember basketball games and all the cheers just went back and forth and that was all. It’s more positive and shows the team that the audience is behind them.”

Born at prep college

“I think we’re going to win” was born on the Naval Academy Preparatory School 1998 when Jay Rodriguez, a future Navy pilot, dreamed it up as a training cheer. Another prep-schooler, Corey Strong, wore “I Believe” to the academy as a cheerleader.

Strongly told ESPN that he first attempted cheering with the school’s entire student body, known as the Brigade of Midshipmen, at the 1999 Army Navy football game. As a freshman, Strong suddenly found himself recognized on campus.

“I happened to walk into class and people would see me and say, ‘I believe,'” Strong said Coffee or Die Magazine.

I believe we will win USMNT

US Navy midshipmen celebrate their victory in the 113th Army vs. Navy Football Game December 8, 2012. The US men’s national soccer team’s “I believe that we will win” celebration began at an Army-Navy game. DoD photo by Marvin Lynchard.

Marvin Lynchard/Department of Defense

Strong passed on the cheering to members of the school’s lacrosse team while they served together as student instructors at the prep school for a summer.

“Probably the craziest athletes on campus are the lacrosse players,” Strong said. “So if anyone would get upset and do something with the cheering, it would be these guys.”

In 2003, the cheering was in the hands of Dwayne Osgood, a lacrosse player from Penn Yan, NY. Osgood enlisted as a Marine and made several combat missions.

“We were the custodians of the chant from 2003 to 2005,” Osgood said. “I would get up with a couple of guys holding my legs. It took a try or two for the Brigade to catch up, but after I did it for two or three games, the Brigade started looking for it.”

A team of triumph and tragedy

The 2004 team that Osgood and Gill played on holds a special place in Navy sports history. On the field, the squad was the best in school history, reaching the National Championship Game where they lost to Syracuse by a single goal.

Brothers Stephen, Billy and Brendan Looney were at the heart of the squad line-up.

Brendan, a senior, didn’t play lacrosse until he arrived at the Naval Academy, but his size, athleticism, and determination made him a key player on the 2004 team as a huge defensive midfielder.

Looney’s roommate and best friend at the academy was Annapolis native Travis Manion. Although Manion did not play lacrosse, the two men bonded over a shared desire to pursue careers in the Navy outside of traditional naval positions.

Looney was determined to become a SEAL while Manion focused on becoming a Marine Infantry Officer.

Both succeeded.

In 2007, while leading Marines in an ambush in Iraq, Manion was killed by a sniper. he was 26

Looney was on BUD/S, the SEAL’s grinding selection course, when he learned of Manion’s death. Driven by the memory of his friend, he graduated as a man of honor in his class.

In September 2010, Looney was one of nine Americans killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. he was 29

After Looney’s death, Manion’s parents agreed to have their son moved from a family plot to Arlington National Cemetary. so the two best friends could be buried next to each other.

From the Brigade to Qatar

According to Gill, with “I Believe That We Will Win,” the team was ready for the 2003 edition of the school’s annual showdown with the US Air Force Academy.

On the day of the game, Gill and the other lacrosse players sat at the front of the student section, waiting for a dramatic moment.

“People said, ‘Do it now,’ but he said, ‘We’ll have to wait,'” said Chris Pieczonka, a midfielder on the team.

With Navy leading 28-25, Osgood stood up, faced the brigade and began:

I believe we will win USMNT

USMNT fans hold up signs, including one that reads “I Believe,” during a 2014 World Cup game in Brazil. Elsa/Getty Images


Some returned the cheers, “Me!”

“I believe!” The voices grew louder: “I believe!”

“I think we do!” Even louder came the reply: “I think we do!”

And with the last rhythmic line – “I think we’re going to win!” — Gil recalls: “The whole brigade went crazy.”

For the next decade, “I Believe” seeped through collegiate sports across the country, particularly in the states of Utah and San Diego. By 2014, fans of the United States men’s national soccer team had adopted the cheering as the de facto anthem during World Cup qualifiers. Ice Cube, Cam Newton and Abby Wombach recited it in ESPN commercials.

In 2019, Pitbull recorded a hype-up song with cheers: “I believe that we will win the world anthem

For the 2004 workforce, “I think we’ll win” nonetheless has juice. During an interview for this story, Gill needed to stand and tempo round his home, unable to sit down down and assume “I believe.”

None of the gamers on the workforce have been shocked when “I Believe” received across the World Cup.

“It surprised me, but it didn’t really surprise me because it’s so fitting,” Gil stated. “It thrilled me that we’re a part of what started it and carried it on, and that we had a small part of what it became.”

CONTINUE READING: Raider Five Zero on Fire: A 2 Mile Altitude Impossible Survival Story

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