In this country, there are numerous games and events that happen everyday. Sports have earned a special place in our culture. Growing up, many children desire to become professional athletes and millions of people tune in to watch whatever game is on. However, Americans tend to overlook the sport of soccer; which happens to be the world’s most popular sport. While the rest of world cannot get enough soccer, The United States tends to prefer other sports such as football, basketball, and baseball. While people wonder where the dedicated U.S. soccer fans are, the American Outlaws have always been there.
The American Outlaws, founded by three dedicated soccer fans in Lincoln, Nebraska, started off as a group of individuals throwing viewing parties and traveling to as many soccer games as possible. Their mission is to support the United States National Soccer Teams by creating a community of local and national soccer fans who are dedicated and unified. Today, The American Outlaws have over one hundred chapters across the country. One of those chapters, American Outlaws Santa Rosa, hopes to raise excitement about U.S. Soccer in Sonoma County.
On Sunday, The American Outlaws Santa Rosa chapter was invited to Sonoma State to watch the men and women’s soccer team take on CSU San Bernardino. After the games, they held a special event match viewing party at Lobos on campus for the U.S. Women’s National Team match against The Netherlands.
“What drew me to the American Outlaws was community,” said Danny Garibay, vice president of the American Outlaws Santa Rosa Chapter. “People who were interested in something more local and something that we can all get behind.”
Before becoming vice president of the Santa Rosa chapter, Danny co-founded the American Outlaws Inland Empire Chapter in Southern California. Once he made the move up north, he tried searching for a local North Bay chapter, but found nothing. He eventually got in contact with Mike Parks, the current president of the Santa Rosa chapter. Since then, Parks and Garibay have been recruiting more members that eventually became an official chapter, one of 189 nationally.
“With the American Outlaws, we have a large group of passionate fans in all parts of the country that show their love for US Soccer,” said Parks. “As the professional sport continues to grow here in the states, the number of people interested in the national teams will as well, especially as the major professional leagues continue to expand.”
While the game of soccer is growing in popularity, Parks recognizes that it is difficult to find people that follow the sport.
“Typically, the responses that I’ve come across are that it’s a kid’s game, that it’s only popular in other countries, or that it’s too confusing to follow.”
Parks believes that it’s the duty of soccer supporters to show people why they love the game and to teach others why they should as well. By developing an American soccer culture on a grass roots level, the chapter hopes this will help local businesses, local teams, and traveling American Outlaws tourists visit their chapter and their North Bay community.
“Being supporters of US Soccer allows us to tap into the patriotic side of people to show them that they can love the game, and show their pride of their country, as we take on opponents on the world stage,” said Parks.
The American Outlaws Santa Rosa chapter typically meets up at Third Street Aleworks in Santa Rosa for all U.S. Men’s and Women’s team matches. If you are interested in joining them, you are welcome to come watch a match with them or sign up through the American Outlaws website. You can also contact the chapter through their Twitter and Facebook pages.