Once you’ve been to a soccer match in the UK, all sports fans in the United States feel a little subdued and uninteresting. Yeah, we can be loud, but do we have wild, rhyming, occasionally racist cheers for every single player on the team? Are we willing to live and die for literally nothing except our country, family, and team? Usually not.
There are a lot of American sports fanatics, but, as a country, we’ve never had to worry about bands of roving hooligans getting into fights with members of other teams.
But now, in the midst of probably the most exciting World Cup ever — and this is coming from a guy who’s watched a total of one other World Cup — we’ve finally got a prominent group of our own national hooligans: the American Outlaws. The Outlaws don’t call themselves hooligans, and, to be fair, they’ve never been accused of being violent racists or of staging back-alley brawls with members of opposing national teams, but if you’ve watched one of the US games in your local bar, the Outlaws are the ones responsible for making the game exciting.
And, ultimately, that’s what the good kind of soccer hooligan does. They provide the game with the electricity that makes it truly enjoyable to watch. I remember seeing it from Chelsea fans when I went to Stamford Bridge in London a few years ago, and then I felt it again last Sunday watching the US-Portugal game with a big group of Outlaws at a local bar.
Welcome to the wonderful world of international soccer, America. You can thank the Outlaws.