Ever since the American Outlaws was founded in 2007, they have slowly but surely gained popularity among the US soccer fan base. On Thursday night in Kansas City, they hit a big milestone: Wichita became the 100th chapter of the Outlaws.
It doesn’t take much to become an official chapter. To apply, the group must have 25 official members, and a bar that will show every single game, with audio, no matter what.
When this whole thing started in 2007, the idea was to bring fans together across the United States, to “unite and strengthen” the fan base and support US Soccer in one concerted effort.
"People were looking for the type of group that did something for every single game," Chris Donahoo, one of the founders, said in Kansas City on Thursday night before the USA qualifier against Jamaica. "Not just qualifiers, not just World Cup, not just Gold Cup, but friendlies. We needed to have something for everybody to go to every single game."
It’s taken six years to get here, but the Outlaws are showing no signs of slowing, with a presence at every single match.
The Outlaws in Columbus were 9,000 strong. (Image courtesy of Getty)
"It started in 2007 from Lincoln, Nebraska, where we made the first chapter. Ever since then, we got two or three new chapters the first year, the second year we got 5-10 more, and then tonight here we are, 2013, getting ready to go to Brazil and we announced our 100th chapter and it’s really just been exponential,” Donahoo said.
And their plans for Brazil are quite impressive. The first organized Outlaws travel for a World Cup was in 2010, when 55 members went to South Africa. Now for 2014, the number of fans wanting to travel increased.
"Before we had even qualified, we sold three charter jets from Houston to Brazil. And, we have a 1,500 person wait list to get on the jets if those people can’t go," Donahoo said. "It’s not a credit to us, it’s not a credit to US Soccer it’s a credit to the people that are fans out there that believe in US Soccer, so I think that this is just the beginning."
It’s become clear that the American Outlaws are here to stay, helping bring fans across the country together one chapter at a time.
Image: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
The chants started even before kickoff. Dos a cero, dos a cero!
Two-nil. Such has been the end result, in favor of the United States, in the past four World Cup qualifiers against Mexico on American soil, Columbus Crew Stadium to be exact. Tuesday’s classic was also played in Columbus. It also ended 2-0.
Landon Donovan provided the preordained second goal after Eddie Johnson’s header made it 1-0 not long after halftime. As fate would have it — or was it just a cruel joke played on El Tri? — not even a late stoppage time penalty to the US could change the outcome. Clint Dempsey missed wide right. Way right. Dos a cero. Par for the course.
That’s when the chants began anew from the cheering sections of the American Outlaws, drowning out the final whistle. The US had triumphed over Mexico again — 7-0-3 all-time at Columbus Crew Stadium — and the real celebration was only just beginning.
The Americans still had to wait another 40 minutes or so before the tickets to Brazil for next summer’s World Cup could officially be booked. Honduras first needed to win or draw over Panama in the late match. A large fraction of the Outlaws — who made up most of the record 9,000 supporters’ group members in attendance — stayed in their seats and watched the match on the big screen.
Panama equalized twice to keep the fans — and the players in the dressing room — glued to the TV until the final whistle, but at last it ended in a 2-2 draw, clinching the Americans’ World Cup berth. Seconds later, the entire squad ran back out to their supporters, donning “Qualified” tees and leading the crowd into a new, even sweeter chant.
We are going, we are going, we are going to Brazil!
Image: Jamie Sabau / Getty Images
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer)
The American Outlaws in full voice in Seattle.
USA v JAMAICA: 9-11 in Columbus