LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — “I believe… I believe that… I believe that we… I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN!”
If you’ve watched a U.S. game during the current World Cup, you’ve heard this chant. For some reason, it’s more popular than ever among Americans in Brazil (and those watching the games at home) this year, but it has actually been around for more than a decade.
Some say it all started at FedExField.
According to a Washington Post report from December 2003, Navy football fans started the chant during the final minutes of a close game against Air Force in October of that year. Navy hadn’t beaten a ranked opponent in nearly two decades.
“I,” a group of fans began, softly. Then they got louder. “I believe . . .” Soon, more than 2,000 spectators were jumping up and down, joining in.
And the rest is history.
Navy broadcaster and CBS Radio sports anchor Pete Medhurst remembers that game well.
He was broadcasting on TV for HDNet, “and late in the 4th quarter as Kyle Eckel, our full back, was just running through Air Force defenders, brigade members just started chanting it,” he says.
“I remember, I was nervous, because we had lost to Air Force in whacky ways. In fact, when our fans do it now, I still get nervous thinking we’ve chanted it too early. It’s been a fixture during our sports games on the yard since then.”
So, there you have it. The chant that has been a fire in the bellies of U.S. soccer fans during this year’s World Cup can be traced back to Maryland.
ESPN actually tracked down a Navy cheerleader who claims to have made up the “I Believe” chant several years before that 2003 game. Watch their interview with him here.