American Outlaws update: Join us Tuesday!

American Outlaws update: Join us Tuesday!

american_outlawsSo some of y’all will remember when we started pushing to get Lowcountry fans of the U.S. national soccer teams (men & women teams, including youth squads) to come out, watch the U.S. Men’s National Team during the June World Cup Qualifiers, and join the American Outlaws. Well, we’ve got some news.

First, we found lots of people who said they’d be interested in starting an American Outlaws Chapter here in Charleston. And with some people in Columbia looking to get a chapter started there, the race is on to be the first official chapter in South Carolina.

Second, Mikey Buytas, the President of The Regiment (the official supporters club of the Charleston Battery), has agreed to take on the initial leadership effort required to get a chapter going here.

Third, Mikey is inviting everyone to join him at Madra Rua in Park Circle on Tuesday night for the 9 p.m. World Cup Qualifier against Honduras.

It’s going to be broadcast nationally from Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, on ESPN, so yeah, you could just as easily stay at home and watch it. But the thing about getting an American Outlaws chapter in our town is that whenever there’s a match on, you know which bar to go to to watch it with fellow fans. And frankly, it’s just a lot more fun to watch an American soccer match with a bunch of fans who’ve gathered just for that purpose.

So here’s the ask: Come out. And before you come out, talk to your friends and invite them to come out, too. There’s no obligation to join American Outlaws. But if you do, not only do you get cool schwag and some great travel discounts, but your membership will count toward the 25 members we need to qualify for official A.O. status.

In addition to the 25+ members, we’ll also need to select an official bar for the chapter. Mikey spoke to me on Sunday about some of the considerations that might go into that decision, but it would be great to have plenty of fans on hand for the Honduras match to talk about what might be the best place for American fans to gather as the USMNT heads toward Brazil in 2014.

About American Outlaws

A member of the A.O. chapter in Nashville before the U-23 Olympic Qualifying tournament in March 2012.

A member of the A.O. chapter in Nashville before the U-23 Olympic Qualifying tournament in March 2012.

While the American national teams have an official supporters’ group called Sam’s Army, American Outlaws has overtaken the older, official group in terms of active members, energy and identity. A.O. got its start in 2006 as a local supporters group in Omaha, Nebraska, and has since grown into a national phenomenon. You can book your travel to national team matches through American Outlaws, or buy tickets through the organization.

But you can also join up and never travel to a match. By emphasizing local chapters instead of simply national game-day travel, A.O. has succeeded in helping connect fans across the country into growing local networks. I got to know the group in Nashville, Tenn., back in March 2012, and they rocked. Even without a local team to support, the Nashville A.O. chapter is active and rollicking. Which means when there’s a game on TV, every U.S. fan in the Music City knows where to go to watch. And when there’s a game people want to go see, you’ve got fellow fans with whom you can travel.

In other words, they’re serious about supporting the team, but they have a good time.

Membership costs $20 plus $4 shipping and handling for your schwag, which includes a T-shirt and the group’s signature American flag bandanna. Mikey plans to have a laptop at the match on Tuesday so you can sign up on the spot, but you can also sign up online before the match and give us your information when you get there.

So, really and truly: Tell your friends! Come out! Let’s make this happen.