To say 2015 for our national teams was “up-and-down” might be an understatement. The women are world champions whereas the men struggled mightily in our region. From one extreme to another.
Regardless the American Outlaws were there for the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. That’s the meaning of being a supporter; we’re there through thick and thin.
2015 was again a year of incredible growth for AO. We can count over 30,000 members in 185 chapters (including adding 20 official chapters this year from the Bronx to Honolulu) across the United States and abroad. We represented at every domestic men’s and women’s national team game this year including many international matches from the Women’s World Cup in Canada to international friendlies in Europe for the men and their sole World Cup qualifier in Trinidad & Tobago in November. AO is bigger and better than ever.
Here are a few highlights from this past year:
AO’s Canadian Invasion on the Way to the USWNT’s Three Star Summer
There’s no mistaking that watching our ladies lift the World Cup trophy in Vancouver was the highlight of 2015. From the beginning we were confident in our USWNT would be in the Final (we said it from the start) and from Winnipeg to Vancouver, from June to July, and from two stars to three… we were there every step of the way.
AO’s support of the USWNT in Canada wasn’t lost on Jonathan Tannewald:
“One of the most remarkable things to me about this Women’s World Cup has been the presence of the American Outlaws. The Outlaws’ presence was impossible to miss. Yes, there were huge crowds at the 1999 World Cup. But the particular kind of passion that AO has brought to women’s soccer - a true soccer supporter culture - wasn’t there back then.”
Or former national teamer, and ESPN analyst, Julie Foudy (from the same article):
Foudy praised the Outlaws for having “single-handedly changed the culture for soccer viewers in this country.” And to judge from Foudy’s words, the culture changed for her too.
“I wish they’d been around when we played.”
AO earned praise at home and throughout Canada for our support of the WNT, the largest single group to attend matches at the WWC. Since we ramped up our support for the women’s side we planned on making a splash in Canada…. mission accomplished.
Mixed Year for Men, We Support None-The-Less
While friendly wins against European powers Germany and the Netherlands over the summer were nice they were quickly overshadowed by a fourth-place finish in the CONCACAF Gold Cup and overtime loss to regional rivals Mexico in October’s CONCACAF Cup.
The Gold Cup was particularly painful as hopes were high from the June friendlies. From Dallas-to-Boston-to-KC (that was a hot one!) to-Baltimore-to-Atlanta we were behind the goal and when our Cup Final plans took a detour to PPL Park in Chester instead we still stood behind our boys.
On the other-hand, a fresh World Cup qualifying cycle began anew in in November in St. Louis and were #RussianToTheWorldCup now. Fresh faces popped up in 2015 with Gyasi Zardes, Jordan “He Scores When He Wants” Morris, Matt Miazga, Darlington Nagbe, and Bobby Wood.
We don’t know what will happen on field for the USMNT in 2016, but with World Cup qualifying in full swing and Copa America coming to our shores you can be sure of one thing… wherever they go we’ll follow.
Bringing fans closer than ever to the game with special guest and big events
If you want to be a part of American soccer and building soccer culture here there’s no better way than through American Outlaws. Time and time again AO events and the AO section are the “place to be”. We continue to be the ONLY U.S. national team supporters group that offers tickets and hosts events for EVERY men’s and women’s game.
From #AONB4 to tailgates to supporters sections that put you right in the action… the American Outlaws experience is unlike any other in American soccer. Not to mention the incredible cameos we had in 2015 from MNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann crashing our Night before party in Kansas City, Christen Press drumming in the AO section at the Rose Bowl, MNT defender Tim Ream taking fan questions in St. Louis and former MNT players Alexi Lalas and Eric Wynalda joining our Camp Cupcake Cup friendly in LA in January.
Bigger stadium presence than ever before
American soccer culture is maturing before our very eyes. Taking our cues from the world’s game and supporters groups across the United States we’re working to create better in-game atmospheres than ever before. 2015 was a banner year (pun intended) for AO tifo as we created more than every other year of our existence combine. The logistics of executing such stadium displays are more difficult than groups that use the same stadium game-in-and-out, but AO and our chapters stepped up like never before with new and creative way to support our men’s and women’s national teams.
We’re proud to do our part in making every stadium that we visit an overwhelming home atmosphere for our teams.
Check out the gallery below for all of our tifos and in-stadium displays form 2015.
#AOFamily Keeps on Giving
A big focus for the American Outlaws has always been to mobilize the incredibly generous spirit of our #AOFamily to give back. 2015 was no different.
Initiated by AO: Orange County member James Bathgate we led our membership to support the VetTix program that purchases game tickets for military veterans and their families. In about 30 days the #AOFamily raised over $38,000 to send almost 500 people to the USMNT vs. Mexico CONCACAF Cup game at the Rose Bowl in October. Our partners, Ruffneck Scarves even produced a limited edition scarf for ticket holders to claim.
We also raised over $3000 in two weeks in December to support the Deaf WNT in their quest to qualify and win their second consecutive World Cup.
Back in April we presented a check at #AONB4 in San Antonio to our other veteran program “Operation Homefront”. This was our second donation (the first was in June 2014 in Jacksonville) to the group funded by the sales and 100% donation of proceeds from our sale of the limited edition AO Military Scarf. Don’t worry we’ll be making more and raising more for “Operation Homefront”!
Our buy-one-give-one program got a new partner and a new look with the debut of our Senda Athletic’s AO ball. This year we supported such organizations as Soccer Without Borders, Camp Independence, SESSI, and Camp Mustard; plus those donating to the stockpile for future uses on domestic and international AO trips.
Lastly, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the incredible efforts that our chapters took part in throughout 2015. Boston raised thousands of dollars through their annual “AO Ball” winter formal, Dallas supported their community when deadly tornadoes ravaged the area, Phoenix host a holiday toy drive during their tailgate for the USWNT in December, AO Houston leading efforts to raise money for our Mexican neighbors after Hurricane Patricia, and so many more.
We’re incredible grateful for all the big hearts in our #AOFamily.
There you have it. All that was, and wasn’t, in 2015 from the American Outlaws.
We can’t wait to see you all in 2016.