In recent years, the combination of the patriotic “USA! USA!” chant from a fan base and a largely Hispanic opposing student body has been a byword for an ugly racist incident. Now, days after one Texas high school repeatedly invoked the chant during a state title boys soccer match, that school’s officials insist the chant wasn’t racist … and its opponents appear to agree.
As reported by the Dallas Morning-News, Frisco Wakeland soccer fans offered up the chant during the Class 5A title match against Brownsville Porter, a Rio Grande Valley school that features a predominantly Hispanic student body. Yet Wakeland leaders were quick to insist that the chants used in the title match weren’t directed in any derogatory way toward Porter. Rather, they were a continuation of fan behavior throughout Wakefield’s season.
“I can say, without hesitation, that they use it all the time,” Wakeland soccer coach Rusty Oglesby told the Morning-News. “Back during the football season, they were chanting ‘USA!’ in a game against Frisco Centennial.”
Added Frisco ISD athletic director David Kuykendall: “I didn’t think that it was something that was meant to be derogatory. I didn’t feel a sense of tension out there at all. I just felt like it was two good teams playing.”
While those might be empty proclamations without the backing of Porter officials, that came in due time as well, thanks to Porter soccer coach Jose Espita, whose team captured the state title, 3-2, in a tiebreaker shootout. Espita went so far as to call Oglesby a class act, and insist that the USA! chants were beneficial to his own team.
“We live in the United States, too. We love the United States.”