By Robert Cross / AO: Portland
I am proud to be in their numbers, oh when the Yanks go marching in!
The setting was beautiful and serene at Avaya stadium in San Jose last night. There were hundreds of American Outlaw members in attendance, each adorned in their Red, White, and Blue. People were sprawled out on the great lawn, looking up to the big screen at the stadium as the USWNT #RunTheWorld continued into the night. There are moments in life that feel surreal, and this is one of them.
USA is a soccer nation and the American Outlaws welcome everyone to Unite & Strengthen.
The World Cup was last hosted by the United States in 1994. We have waited some time to host a completion of this caliber in men’s play and the Copa America Centenario is an illustrious tournament with some of the best football teams in the world participating. AO was born in Lincoln, Nebraska in 2007. We now have 187 chapters across the world and over 32,000 members. We are growing each and every day. We live and breathe the beautiful game. We belong.
We stand untied, we’ll never be divided, fight and sing to victory!
I had dozens of conversations last night with AO members from all across the country. Some people I have known for years now, there are memories and moments, there are hopes and aspirations, and yes, there are dreams. As a young boy growing up with a ball and a sport that felt foreign, but wonderful to me at the same time, I never imagined the reality of soccer in the USA today. I live in a city (Portland, OR) that lives and breathes the sport, I was a founder of an AO chapter, and I get to be a part of something special, each and every day.
The beautiful game is about community, it is open and inclusive, it is meant to be shared with all whose hearts are open.
Upon arriving in San Jose my first conversation on the ground was with two Colombian fans. I spotted their jerseys and immediately struck up a conversation. As I have done so hundreds of times with fans of Mexico, Italy, and even England. We all share one love, and that is for a sport that brings millions of people together around the globe, speaking one language of football. The American Outlaws are part of that culture, we travel the country, and we travel the globe to support our teams.
Tonight marks the opening of Copa for the USMNT as we take on Colombia. Hope springs eternal and I believe that we will play well, organized football and surprise with our performance. I believe, I believe that we will win! USA will beat Colombia 2-1 with goals from Bobby Wood and Clint Dempsey.
About the Author
Robert W. Cross is a founding member and former President of American Outlaws Portland and a lifelong football fan and supporter of both club and country.