By: Drew Pilewski
What do we, as a nation, pride ourselves in? We value hard work, dedication, and the ability to overcome the odds. The stories that will go down as the most historic and legendary sporting events of all time are the ones where a team spat in the face of conventional wisdom and won it all. The Miracle on Ice, the 2004 Boston Red Sox, Connors at the 1991 U.S. Open; these are the stories that have defined sports in America. Unpredictability is why people fawn over U.S. sports. Who will be the team that will defy all of the odds and make a deep run? Will the aging veteran come back for one more playoff push? Will new stars emerge? Will the guy that every team overlooked show the world what he can do? Will the coach that everyone has written off find a way to galvanize a team?
All of these questions were posed of Leicester City at the beginning of the season, and conventional wisdom unequivocally answered “no” to all of them. However, Leicester defied the odds and did the unthinkable. Leicester City won the Premier League. Aging veterans like Robert Huth and Mark Albrighton found new life. Nameless footballers like N’Golo Kante and Danny Simpson are now household names in England. Jamie Vardy broke a record by scoring a goal in 11 consecutive games. Riyad Marez won PFA player of the year. Manager Claudio Ranieri was the manager most likely to get fired at the beginning of the year, and now he has won a title. If this was a movie, people would criticize it for being too cheesy.
This is why I believe that Leicester City is the most American team of all time. The American dream is all about working harder than the next guy and being rewarded for it. This counter-attacking, scrappy, and rugged Leicester City team works harder than most teams in the Premier League, and now they have the title. When they fell, they had a culture of determination and unwillingness to give up that carried all of the way to the supporters. In a game against mid-table club West Brom, when Leicester went behind 1-0, boos did not rain down from the fans. Rather, the fans applauded and urged their team onward. I am confident that there is no other ground in the world where a team would receive that kind of response after conceding a goal. Imagine if the St. Louis Blues let in a goal to the Dallas Stars in the playoffs this year, but instead of booing Brian Elliot or the defenseman that made the mistake, the fans started clapping and singing a “Let’s go Blues” chant.
This spirit of unconditional positivity was partly due to the low expectations that the team and the fans had for themselves at the beginning of the season. Their only goal for the season was to be around in the Premier League again next year. Not only will they be staying up, but they will be in the champions league where they will be going up against the likes of FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich, or PSG. Even their fans made jokes about their beginning of the season goals. When the Foxes scored the equalizing goal in what would end up being the game that won them the title, the supporters started singing, “We are staying up! We are staying up!” alluding to the fact that they overachieved so greatly this year.
So, based on the flat out American nature of Leicester City, I am calling on President Obama and David Cameron to work out an agreement where Leicester City would become a U.S. territory. It just does not seem right that a city with a story so downright patriotic is on the other side of the Atlantic.
Congratulations to the Foxes and I hope to hear the fans of Leicester City chanting
“USA! USA!” in the Champions League next season.