Vulgar chant in the NYT

In the NYT back on the 20th, “M.L.S. Tries to Mute Fans’ Vulgar Chants” by Andrew Keh:

For decades, soccer officials in the United States simply wanted some fans in their stadiums. Now they have them, and some of those fans have brought an unexpected problem: a vulgar chant, in the vein of more notoriously rabid soccer fans in other countries.

Hardly clever, it is only three words — an insult directed at the opposing goalkeeper — but enough to give M.L.S. officials fits as they hear it spill over into live television broadcasts. The chant’s simplicity is what makes it appealing or appalling, depending on your perspective.

It has been heard this season at Major League Soccer games in Seattle; Sandy, Utah; Harrison, N.J.; Kansas City, Kan.; and Columbus, Ohio, among other places. It has been shouted by thousands of fans at men’s national team games, too.

In more detail (and with a link to a YouTube video of the chant in action):

It is deployed in one specific game situation: when the opposing team’s goalkeeper prepares to restart the game on a goal kick, there is a crescendo of percussive noise and swelling voices. When the player then puts his foot through the ball, the fans yell out the phrase in unison.

The three-word chant, known as the Y.S.A. chant, is a more vulgar expression of “You suck, jerk.” It has deep but unclear roots, dating back at least a decade. Its form and usage are similar to ones used in South America, Central America and Europe, suggesting that early M.L.S. fans — who borrow heavily at first from international fan cultures — adopted the structure and added their own choice words.

Even witout the video, the Times story supplies enough information to identify the chant as You suck, asshole.

MLS teams are trying various strategies to suppress the chant.

One Response to “Vulgar chant in the NYT”

  1. sledge | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] of this sort is common in sports in all parts of the world (see my posting on a vulgar chant in soccer, and google on “sports taunting”). What’s notable here […]

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