Moments after scoring two goals in an FA Cup third-round upset of Arsenal, American defender Eric Lichaj was buzzing. Nottingham Forest fans were chanting “USA, USA.” None of them would ever forget the 4-2 victory. But Lichaj had another goal in mind – one that he had just missed out on.
“My wife told me that if I get a hat trick anytime during the year, I get a dog,” Lichaj told BT Sport. He had come up short, and lost an argument with teammates over penalty-taking duties late in the match.
But Forest teammates and fans came to his defense. Heck, fans across England and the U.S. rallied for him. They launched a Twitter campaign, #GetEricADog. They bombarded his wife, Kathryn, with pictures on social media. And, 48 hours later …
— Eric Lichaj (@EricLichaj) January 9, 2018
And, the best part: He named it Gunner! Coincidence? After beating Arsenal, nicknamed the Gunners? We think not.
At last, a heartwarming story that American soccer fans can get behind.
This all began with Eric’s love for dogs. He grew up with one. But Kathryn had a pretty good reason for not allowing him to get one. She explained on BBC Radio Nottingham:
“We had our daughters really close together, there’s 13 months between ’em. So the last few years have been crazy busy with ’em. Having a dog wouldn’t be suitable for our lifestyle. But now our eldest has gone to school, and he’s been on and on and on about this dog. I mean, we go to bed, and he’s got google pictures of dogs – which one’s best for the family, which one the girls [would like], this and that. So I said, ‘If you get a hat trick, we’ll make a deal, and you can have a dog.’ Obviously, I thought it’s not gonna happen. We’re not going to get a dog.”
And, to be fair to Kathryn, it didn’t happen. But then all of this did happen:
Cannot take looking at anymore picture or videos of dogs
— Kathryn Lichaj (@KatPerko) January 8, 2018
Kathryn said the couple were watching Match of the Day, replaying the goal, and Eric was still looking at pictures of dogs. He wouldn’t give in. Fans wouldn’t give in. Finally, Kathryn did – or at least she agreed to a compromise.
Based on Kathryn’s comments, it sounds like Eric wanted a big dog. He ended up getting a pup. Now everyone is happy.
There power of the people .. he is super cute though.. everyone meet Gunner https://t.co/IWMm87Ho3M
— Kathryn Lichaj (@KatPerko) January 9, 2018
The internet can be good sometimes. And thanks to Gunner, the Lichajs will always have a reminder of that memorable win over Arsenal.