The American Outlaws are a group of dedicated supporters of the U.S. Men’s National Team. The group’s mission is to “unite and strengthen” a group of fans who are described as “loud, passionate, organized and dedicated.”
The organization was established in 2007 in Nebraska to bring fans together to watch matches and travel to games. They adopted the name American Outlaws because they saw themselves as outliers in a sports landscape in America that focused more on American football, baseball and other sports.
Since then, the American Outlaws organization has grown to include 135 chapters across the country.
Chris Morris is president of the Cleveland chapter and he was gracious enough to sit down for a virtual Q&A about the chapter and the prospects of the U.S. team this summer at the World Cup in Brazil.
Question: How did the Cleveland chapter come about?
Chris: The Cleveland chapter was formed in 2010 by RJ Pooch, in the run up to the World Cup in South Africa. We currently boast more than 240 paid members. We have been meeting for every USMNT match at Merry Arts Pub and Grille in Lakewood, Ohio, since 2013. I have to give a shout out to John Granzier, the bar owner, for being gracious enough to welcome us in when we needed a new place to host our watch parties. He and his staff have proved to be invaluable in creating the right atmosphere and stable relationship needed to grow our chapter and support of U.S. Soccer in the Cleveland area.
Question: What activities do you have planned for the World Cup?
Chris: We have teamed up with America SCORES Cleveland in an effort to raise money for their organization. They will be on hand during the USA v Ghana game hosting a 50/50 drawing, with half the proceeds going directly to SCORES Cleveland. We also have plans to give away some swag, as well as at least one other 50/50 draw during the Group Stage matches. America SCORES Cleveland was founded in the spring of 2004 with programming for 120 students in four inner-city west side elementary schools. Today, America SCORES serves more than 500 students, ages 8-15, in nine K-8 Cleveland metropolitan schools across the city and through summer collaborations and a newly-launched high school alumni program. To learn more, visit their website.
Question: What is the atmosphere like when the group gets together for a match?