RSL superfan writes new bilingual chant to promote ‘unity and equality’

The Tribune spoke with superfan Branden Steineckert about the inspiration behind ‘We Are Real.’

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Real Salt Lake fans raise scarves for a corner kick as RSL faces Columbus Crew, MLS soccer in Sandy on Saturday, June 25, 2022.

Real Salt Lake fans know the chant like the backs of their hands.

If you believe then just stand up on your feet / And shout it out loud, ReAL.

It plays before every home match, and after every goal.

Here at the RioT, the battle hymn’s begun / We’re here for RSL.

It’s been sewn into the fabric of fandom since 2012, when Rancid drummer and RSL supporter Branden Steineckert released his “Believe” chant to the masses. Even as Rio Tinto Stadium became America First Field in September 2022, the chant and stadium nickname lived on.

But over the past decade or so, Steineckert has felt like something was missing. He noticed there was an opportunity “begging” for unification — when RSL players lined up in the tunnel and took the field before the game and at halftime.

“This gives us all a reason to be in our seats in unison so that when those guys walk out to the field, they’re walking out to the coolest atmosphere of just unity and fire behind them, and passion and love and outcry,” Steineckert told The Salt Lake Tribune before he released the music video with the new chant this week. “Really owning that statement of who we are and this is our house kind of thing, and to get in the heads of our opponents, too, to mess with them.”

The new chant is called “We Are Real.” It’s simpler than “Believe” in so far as it has fewer words.

But what’s notable about the new chant is its bilingual component. Half the chant is “Nosotros Somos Real,” which is Spanish for “We Are Real.”

Steineckert doesn’t speak Spanish. His inspiration for making the new chant bilingual, he said, came from that. In his view, more people should be bilingual because “Spanish is a beautiful language” and it’s spoken all over the state and country. He added that a bilingual chant “feels like what we should always be doing rather than like this should be something new.”

When trying to figure out how to translate “We Are Real” to Spanish, he texted friends who speak the language. He then checked that with his wife, who is learning to speak it, and Google Translate — just to make sure everyone was on the same page.

When it came to recording the singing, Steineckert wanted to “respect the language” of Spanish. So what is heard in the video are members of the RSL supporter group La Barra Real singing those portions along with him, his wife and an RSL executive who speaks fluent Spanish.

“That’s where I just need this to be authentic,” Steineckert said. “I don’t want to be the one people are hearing because that’s a disservice when I don’t even speak the language properly.”

Steineckert said he recorded the audio portion while on a short layover in Salt Lake City on his way to Los Angeles last March. He cobbled together about a dozen people, who met outside the stadium, and he recorded several takes of the new chant before rushing to his flight.

We Are ReAL.

The video depicts a recreation of two teams exiting the tunnel onto America First Field. Steineckert said 22 people appear in it — 11 for each soccer team — and all of them are RSL supporters.

Steineckert waiting a year to release an RSL chant isn’t new. When he wrote “Believe,” it was done in 2011 and not released until the following year.

“You feel when the time is right,” Steineckert said. “Leading into this year and the preseason and everything, I was like, ‘You know, we need another call to arms. We need to bring people together. We need some camaraderie. We need to remind each other we’re all in this together. I would hope this helps. I would hope the fun part of it being English and Spanish is a nod to that spirit of unity and equality.”

Nosotros Somos ReAL.

RSL recently started its preseason and has its home opener on March 2 against LAFC. When fans file into America First Field that day, Steineckert hopes they’ll have a new way of making the RioT the fortress it was once.

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