So I don’t know if you watched the Women’s World Cup final on Sunday, but the U.S. Women’s National Team played a phenomenal match and beat Japan 5-2. I know. Can you believe it? Sorry if you hadn’t heard (#spoilers). I read today that it was the most-watched match in the U.S., drawing in 26.7 million viewers, which surprised me a little bit. Apparently, the 2014 Men’s World Cup final “only” brought it 26.5 million viewers. Suckers.
Anyway, on Monday this video began circulating through Facebook: Listen to All Five U.S. Goals As Called By Telemundo’s Andrés Cantor I watched, I laughed, I cried, and I watched it again.
Soccer fans may be familiar with the long, drawn out GGGOOOOLLLLLLLLLL heard so often in broadcasting nowadays, but until about a decade ago, I had no idea this phenomenon existed. In fact, I am not sure I had ever watched a soccer game.
Shortly after my husband and I met, he picked me up to take me out to dinner in his little red truck. As usual, a soccer game was playing on the radio. I wish I could tell you which game, but I honestly have no idea. Anyway, as I climbed in, Richard leans over to kiss me and says hello, lowers the volume and says, “Hold on, I just need to call my dad real quick.”
“Sure,” I say as he dials his cell phone. It’s quiet for a beat or two and then the first thing Richard says is
Not hello, not hola. GOL.
I about came out of my skin. I thought he might have lost his mind. Wide-eyed, I look at him for explanation and guidance, and he just smiles at me and begins an animated soccer discussion with his dad in Spanish. When he ends the call, I finally say, “What was that?!”
“Andrés Cantor still has some lung power, but he isn’t what he used to be,” he says offhand.
“Is he the guy who originated this long GOLLLL thing?” I ask.
“Oh no. That’s been around forever.”
“So who started it?”
“I don’t know,” he says after thinking for a minute. “That’s a good question.”
“Well, when did you first hear it? The ‘90s? The ‘80s?”
“I think I’ve heard it my entire life.”
“But it started in Latin America, right? They don’t do that in Europe.”
“They do it in Europe too.”
“But it didn’t start in Europe, right?”
“I’m not sure.”
“Maybe your parents remember?” I said, curiosity piqued.
When I first started digging online for answers to my questions…because the answer to life, the universe and everything is on Google, right?…I found that several people believed that Argentinian announcer Andrés Cantor originated the famous GOL “song”. Those people are wrong.
He certainly did make the warrior cry more commonplace and familiar. After announcing the World Cup in 1994, he found his way onto TV commericals and The Simpsons. But even he admits that he didn’t create it. In a great interview with Tablet Magazine, he says, “That’s the way I grew up listening to goals.”
Unfortunately, other than learning that he grew up in Argentina listening to this “GOOLL” delivery, he didn’t offer any additional clues. My research eventually led me to another name, a Brazilian broadcaster for more than 50 years: José Carlos Araújo. Apparently, at the age of 17, he took singing lessons in order to become a more lyrical announcer with his goal “song.” But I soon learned he wasn’t the original creator either.
Luckily, I stumbled across this fantastic article from The New York Times that I recommend you read in its entirety if you have even a passing interest in soccer. Plus, the author includes audio clips of famous announcers delivering their “GGGGOOOOOLLLLL” cries, as well as a separate link to celebration deliveries from around the world.
In the article, author Fernanda Santos appears to have located the original time and place of the first drawn-out goal call to 1946 in São Paulo when announcer Rebello Júnior “stretched his call of ‘gol’ on the air until he was almost out of breath, legitimizing the celebratory scream bellowed by fans in the stands and amplifying it to the world.”
I still wasn’t quite convinced this was The First, but my Portuguese knowledge is practically nonexistent, and I couldn’t find any old audio archives of Rebello on Rádio Difusora. However, I did find a blog post from a fellow named Gilberto Maluf on former presidents of the Sports Writers Association of the State of São Paulo, which includes Rebello. He calls Rebello “one of the most important radio history narrators” and “the first to announce the goal with a long emission of voice.” (Or at least, that is what I think he said after using the Google translator button.)
I also found this biography of Rebello for the Virtual Museum of Brazilian TV, which calls him the “Man of the Unmistakable Goal.” How’s that for a title?
So thanks for sticking around, kids. For your trouble, I have also included this fun link from Mental Floss of “linguistic styles of exciting goal calls” for your enjoyment. They also attribute the first signature goal cry to Rebello. If it’s on Mental Floss, it must be true, right?
And if you have any knowledge on this subject, please share! I would love to hear from you.