Suso vs Levante - Reds on Loan

Suso continued his find form on loan in La Liga at Almeria finding the net with a fine strike from outside the box. He is dominating games in La Liga, bossing central midfield and doing well outside on the wing. Suso has also netted two assists so far in 5 games with Almeria, and has become the club’s talisman within a short period of time at Mediterráneos. He seems to be enjoying his football and finds himself in high spirits. We wish him the best of luck.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

The Raucous in Columbus - How US Soccer, AO & a Great City hosted a Marquee Event

I’m not over it. I don’t think anyone who was there could be over it. It’s just something we’ll all look back on one day (even today) and say ‘wow.’ Cbus. Denver will never be topped, but Columbus was completely different sense of electricity. If Denver was endurance and huddled masses getting loud, and singing to support the team as well as heat up the night. Columbus was sprawling.

Columbus, Ohio. Sports mecca in the college world, fitting as Ohio State University’s stadium holds 102,000 screaming Buckeyes. The USMNT weren’t playing there. Instead, they were playing in the fortress that was made of Crew Stadium. And as Columbus was overrun by crazy out-of-towners who were all proudly supporting the USMNT, no one thought about the Horseshoe.

It has to be said that Columbus, Ohio has gone a long way to support soccer in the United States, the Columbus Crew being one of ten inaugural MLS clubs in 1996. The city itself has been dedicated to soccer, but especially to US soccer, for a long time. Perpetually, Columbus creates an inviting atmosphere for US fans from across the country.

It was very fitting that the new sort of sporting relationship came to be a reality in Columbus. It all started in 2001 when US soccer went the way of gamesmanship by placing a World Cup Qualifier in 2001 in a frigid Crew Stadium in February. Mexico wouldn’t know how to handle the intense cold, or the pro American crowd. The game in 2001 finished an emphatic 2-0 & after 3 more wins in Crew Stadium and at the 2002 World Cup, the phrase has stuck. Dos. A. Cero.

So the city of Columbus and US Soccer were on the same page. But no one. No one could have expected the impact of what an organized, dedicated, and relevant supporters group would do to change soccer culture in the United States.

Firstly, with all due respect to Sam’s Army – the American Outlaws bossed it in Columbus. I am putting it out there, because I’m still so amazed, and so proud of how a group of guys from Nebraska went from having a cool idea & a cool website, to bringing enough people all together at almost 100 local chapters nation wide, to being allocated 10,000 seats in a 20,000 seat stadium at a United States National team game just for their supporters.  If you lived in another country, there would never be any such thing.

When US Soccer invited the American Outlaws to Columbus, they were showing an unprecedented trust and willingness to throw down the gauntlet to a supporters group to bring an atmosphere, but hamper trouble.  The American Outlaws weren’t like previous national team supporters group. They encouraged people to start their own local chapter as easily as they convinced them to join national. They excelled in an early master class of branding which was more in tune to accelerating camaraderie. When you join American Outlaws, you get a free tshirt and bandana with your membership. What that free tshirt, and bandana does is identify you to all the other Outlaws. We’re all supporting the same team. 

It’s hard to support soccer in most parts of the USA. People just don’t care. If I walk in to work and say, ‘Oh, did you hear Clint Dempsey went to Seattle’ or ‘holy crap, Ozil went to Arsenal from Madrid, I can’t believe it.’ People look at me like I’ve lost my mind. Not because I said holy crap, but because none of what I just said is relevant to them. It’s not like I’ve said Peyton Manning, Red Sox, or Cowboys. I haven’t even said Kobe, Lebron, or Jeter.

American Outlaws brings a sense of relevance to the table that no other USMNT supporters group could. You would walk into your supporters club’s local venue, and immediately know the term Champions League wouldn’t be lost on those around you. Even if you were sitting there with only 5 other people – which happened at times when I joined in 2010, no one would ever belittle your love for the game. ‘No one likes soccer,’ you would never hear.

In a world, (country?), where MLS stadiums were just starting to have regular sell outs, and soccer bars benefitted from posting on the internet. American Outlaws brought together those people, who were MLS regulars, who went to the pub at the weekend to watch club games early in the morning. Those people who could drive 10 hours to watch a game, and spend longer talking about it. American Outlaws found the best way to bring all those people together and everyone else off the couch.

When AO released a number of the 10,000 tickets in an internet presale for AO Members only. The website crashed. The website had crashed before 9pm when the ticket sale was supposed to go live. This was the kind of statement of intent that US soccer was really looking for. Secondly, American Outlaws also have a Code of Conduct that all supporters are supposed to follow. American Outlaws also holds its Chapter Leaders and Founders responsible for the conduct of their members, which emphasizes coordination and discipline expectation at a local level. Essentially it triggers a ‘trickle up’ mechanism when AO coordinates larger events. The genius of it all is – they probably never thought of it that way.

The result of US Soccer, and Columbus, Ohio teaming up with American Outlaws, was a complete raucous. People traveled from all over the country, spent hundreds of dollars, scheduled days off work to go support their country. AO had ensured the most passionate 10,000 people were there. And they brought the noise. It has to be said that the USA needs more songs, but there’s no questioning there’s thousands of people who will sing them right.

The best part about AO besides singing until there’s a strain in your neck, is probably just meeting all the other members. The night before party is always the best way to meet people, and see whose faces you’ll recognize tomorrow. What was dull early on quickly heated up as the night wore on at the FourthStreet Bar. U.S. Soccer personalities showed up to take part in the festivities that weren’t really around in their playing days. The best part was knowing that the group of supporters jumping up and down singing for them that night, would be right there with them tomorrow, encouraging more people to sing.

 

Bench Splitting, Champagne Spilling, Columbus. With the most majestic national anthem you’ll ever hear sung by a crowd that didn’t need someone else singing over them. A crowd that sang the whole night. A North & South side that serenaded players, a Mexican section that could not be found.

This is a new era of US Soccer where fans perpetuate the game’s popularity. Soccer is a sport that is making it in America without a true superstar. And American soccer is garnering the kind of passion that no other sport can compete with, a love for country. US Soccer has done a wonderful thing supporting venues where soccer fans are treated the best, and supporting American Outlaws & Sam’s Army who bring the best supporters. It was worth the 10 hour drive. It was worth the unique experience. It was worth the people I met. The words I sang. The joy I felt. It was worth it all to be in Columbus, supporting my team, supporting my country. And I’ll be there every chance I get. We pulled it off. We all did. There are a few groups of people that coordinated, but we all had to sing together. And we did.

Unite & Strengthen.

wheres the place to be for the US Mexico game tonight?

Asked by gregorydwilson

Christy’s On Orange & Anna Liffeys in New Haven - definitely Damon’s Tavern in Hartford home to @AOHartford

boxtoboxblog:

Tip o’ the hat to Mr. @DannyLast, who shared this CGI model of FK Vozdovac Belgrade’s new stadium. The clincher? It’s built on top of a shopping mall.

Yes. A football stadium. ATOP A SHOPPING CENTRE.

It may only have a capacity of 5,200, and carpeted with artificial turf instead of grass, but still, that’s a pretty impressive use of space. Can’t imagine what it’d be like for mall visitors on match days though. 

Sod your hotels and spas and mini theme parks, The Stadion Shopping Centre in Belgrade has a friggin’ football stadium attached to it.