I was wondering if you were looking for your MLS Cup anthem.
Well, thanks to a bit of fortunate timing and the inspiration of Columbus Crew SC goalkeeper Steve Clark, that team have found theirs during the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs race.
After their past two post-season victories–over the Montreal Impact and New York Red Bulls–the team settled on some musical inpsiration. It wasn’t an upbeat hip-hop song or a stadium rock jam that blared throughout their locker room after each of those wins; rather it was Adele's white-hot power ballad, "Hello."
“It was kind of spontaneous,” Clark said of the first time he played the song in the locker room after it came out. “It was a rainy, nasty day at the stadium. Everyone’s heard the song, and I just turned it on so loud. People in the locker room said 'Hello.' I don’t know; it just worked. Then Kei [Kamara] put it on right before the Montreal game right and everyone is like, 'Hello!'"
But that first team listen was before a loss, and head coach Gregg Berhalter told them they couldn’t play the song before games anymore.
“I was kidding,” the usually stoic Berhalter said, laughing, at Crew training this week. “They didn’t find the humor in it, that’s the funny part about it. They thought I was serious.”
Berhalter quickly returned to his all-business face.
“What I’d say is, I’m a big supporter of Adele,” he said, stifling more laughter. “She’s a great singer.”
"Hello" is now the team's de facto official victory song. And while a slow, breakup ballad might not seem like the greatest celebration after a win, the Crew SC players don’t find it strange.
“That’s our song,” Kamara said. “It gets us pumped up. It’s such a motivational song. Steve brought that up, and we love it.”
Unlike some of his more hip teammates, 31-year-old family man Michael Parkhurst said he first learned of the song through his team.
“I hadn’t even heard the song before,” he said.
And while other teams have a businesslike approach to the playoffs, Clark says the anthem is just a symptom of a tight-knit team.
“We have a lot of things going for us,” he said. “We have a lot of traditions; we have a lot of fun together. We’ve come together as a team at the right time, and that’s just a small little fun part of it. So we want to thank Adele for that.”