Soccer team goes viral: Players entertain with music videos
While Washington University fans might be accustomed to seeing the men’s soccer team in red and white game-day garb, a new team project has players dressed in cowboy hats, swim trunks and fanny packs.
Players have filmed comic videos of themselves singing and dancing on four road trips this season and intend to continue this experiment in music video production. Videos of the team breaking it down have found a following resulting in thousands of YouTube hits.
Last year, during the University’s snow day, players decided to record a video of themselves lip-syncing to the Yung Humma song “Lemme Smang It” for team entertainment. Although players originally intended to only show the videos to themselves, this season the videos are posted on YouTube and filming has become a WUSTL FC tradition. When they’re not taking corner kicks or blocking shots, team members are serenading each other on airplanes, recreating a rollercoaster on metal bleachers or interrupting a study session in nothing but swim suits. No song is too silly and no bystander is safe.
“We decided to take up our time on the road trips we would start creating videos,” junior forward Zachary Query said. “After the first one we just had such a good time, we decided to continue with the tradition—and we’re actually undefeated on the road trips when we make videos.”
Each YouTube upload features players lip-syncing a different song while dancing and joking around in different cities; one features Waka Flocka Flame’s “No Hands” in Memphis, another, the Far East Movement’s “Rocketeer” in Atlanta, yet another, Taylor Swift’s “Mean” in New York City and most recently, The Beach Boys’ “Surfin’ USA” in Dubuque, Iowa.
“Basically [players] just dance a lot and I have the video camera on most of the time–especially when our coaches are talking, or dancing,” senior forward Dylan Roman, who films and edits the majority of footage, said. “At the end of the trips or during the trips…I sort of just put it to the song and see what we need, and then at the end of the trips we fill in the last bit of lyrics and hopefully it turns out well.”
Players joked that “they don’t choose the song, the song chooses them”; on the road they will play the track frequently to catch moments of singing along or miming to a specific lyric–but not all action is improvised.
“We pick the theme for outfits a couple days in advance, we pick the song a couple days before, and people start to get really excited about what we can do with it,” senior midfielder Zach Hendrickson said. “The one in New York for ‘Mean’ definitely had the most planning involved, and choreography. We filmed particular scenes in important places and things like that.”
The videos feature players in a variety of zany costumes and situations. In the “Mean” video the team is seen decked out in plaid shirts and jeans as cowboys while singing and square dancing with the famous “Naked Cowboy” in Times Square. This production has proved to be the team’s most popular thus far with more than 1,800 views on YouTube.
In New York City, players received a variety of reactions from passersby–some applauded their choreographed dance sequence, others stopped to see what might be distracting nine boys pointing off into the distance, and the team even had a run-in with law enforcement.
“We got censored at 30 Rockerfeller Center,” senior midfielder Kevin Privalle said. “We were trying to do something and they just saw a ton of people; a guard told us we had to leave.”
For the song “Rocketeer” some players are featured in satiric tourist garb, donning belted khaki shorts and Hawaiian shirts while wearing oversized headphones and fanny packs as accessories. Airport security can only gaze as team members waltz through check-in enthusiastically giving a thumbs-up to Roman’s camera.
According to senior captain Michael Chamberlin, the team’s decision to wear costumes originated from head coach Joe Clarke’s flexibility with what players wear while traveling.
“Joe doesn’t make us all wear the same thing on road trips like some teams do so we decided to start off by kind of making a joke of that and all dressing the same but with our own idea of how we wanted to dress,” Chamberlin said. “It’s evolved into having costume days and theme days every time we travel. The bar is set every trip by [senior midfielder] Cody Costakis who just goes above and beyond with his costumes.”
Although the players do the majority of the performing in videos, notable guest appearances are made by assistant coach Rick Rone, Clarke and a bugle-playing Boy Scout the team encountered at a rest stop en route to Boston.
“I don’t think [the coaches] enjoy being in the videos as much but they definitely enjoy watching the finished product,” Query said.
The Bears travel to the University of Chicago this weekend and intend to produce another video during the trip. The team has a chance to clinch the University Athletic Association title with a victory, and would otherwise receive word of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament on Monday, Nov. 14.