Not for the first time, and certainly not the last time, Goal.com has gotten its facts wrong on a story about the beautiful game. In this instance, the website published an article reporting that Seattle fans would be given a lead role in the American Outlaws supporters group, and that — according to the article — “The United States Soccer Federation and the American Outlaws supporters group will put the fan group’s Seattle chapter in charge of all game day operations for all U.S. men’s national team games.”
The American Outlaws responded with the following statement:
“Reports published at a handful of soccer websites on The American Outlaws plans for the USA vs Mexico World Cup Qualifer in Columbus are incorrect.
“Neither the American Outlaws or the US Soccer Federation are paying for any capo to fly to this game or any future game. The tifo at this crucial qualifier will be organized and run by AO Columbus and local supporters.
“AO Seattle is not being tasked to take over the in-stadium experience for this or any future USMNT games outside Seattle. A Seattle takeover of tifo and singing at all USMNT games has never been the plan or intention and any reports of such are false.
“This USMNT game is unprecedented with the size and scope of the supporter section. There will be 20-plus supporters sections packed into Columbus Crew Stadium and the majority of those people will be from somewhere other than Columbus. We believe, and our members agree, that we need to have a more organized and unified supporters’ section at all USMNT games. This game has created unique challenges with how to do this.
“We have talked and discussed a plan for this game with various members and chapter leaders across the country, including AO Columbus. We even reached out this month looking for capos for the Mexico game. We had several AO members step up and answer the call, offering to organize the supporters sections for this very important game. One of the members stepping up happened to be from Seattle. We have been looking for local and nationwide capos that can represent our nationally diverse section for years now. The need for experienced capos grows as supporters sections at USMNT games, particularly qualifiers and Gold Cup matches, increase in size.
“We are always looking for help from our members across this great country. We have asked capos locally and from all over the country to volunteer for this unique experience. We look to have an estimated 14 capos spread across the 20-plus sections. Part of our thinking in addressing the ongoing issue of dueling chants at games is having “main” capos at games.
“We are always looking for new people to step up and lead in stadium coordination. As the leading supporters group for the United States National Team we have an obligation, as fans, to be there at every game loud and proud for our boys on the field. We need to live up to this and we will do everything we can to support their efforts on the pitch.
“Our goal has always been, and will always be, to Unite and Strengthen fans outside and inside the stadium. We will never rest in our efforts to grow and improve the support for our Yanks.”
The reality is that Columbus has hosted many games featuring the US men’s national team, and the stadium has always had a great atmosphere without needing an AO chapter from another city two time zones away to come in and “organize” supporters. The AO chapters in many MLS and non-MLS cities are well organized and more active in the national organization than AO Seattle has been through the years.
Seattle has hosted one World Cup qualifier, and the atmosphere was impressive. Other cities have hosted multiple qualifiers with success in creating a unique atmosphere. The local AO chapters have been at the forefront of this.
Seattle is doing great things for the sport but so are places like Portland, Kansas City, Houston, Indianapolis, Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Nashville, etc. So the claims by one soccer website that Seattle is taking a lead role in the organization don’t make sense.
The Goal.com article includes one quote from an anonymous source from a related supporters group. Whether the source purposely misled the Goal.com reporter, or got his or her facts wrong, it’s unclear. But the fact of the matter is that the American Outlaws have dismissed the claims as “false” and “incorrect.”