FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – We’ve all seen the type of atmosphere the American Outlaws can create.
From a string of famous Dos a Cero results in Columbus, Ohio, to FIFA World Cup matches deep in the Brazilian rainforest, the Outlaws – a nationwide supporters group for the U.S. National Teams with more than 125 chapters – have been singing and drumming around the globe since 2007.
Now they’re bringing the party to Gillette Stadium, where the U.S. Men’s National Team will host Haiti in the group stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup on July 10.
Dan Wiersema, who founded the popular “Free Beer Movement” and handles communications for the American Outlaws, didn’t have the exact figures on how many tickets AO had purchased for the U.S.-Haiti match, but he did say the supporters’ section in Foxborough would be significant – he estimated more than 1,000 fans and counting as of mid-May.
“I do know it’s going to be a sizeable number,” he said.
The Outlaws are throwing that kind of support behind the Gold Cup for many reasons, not the least of which is the opportunity for the U.S. to once again claim regional supremacy over their most heated rivals – Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras and, above all else, Mexico.
Earning regional bragging rights over El Tri is reason enough for the tournament to be of utmost importance, but on a larger scale, there are global implications for the Gold Cup, as well.
“The U.S. won (the Gold Cup) in 2013. If we win it again, we have an automatic path to the Confederations Cup,” Wiersema said, referencing the prestigious competition which will take place in 2017 as a precursor to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. “The last time we participated in that, we shocked Spain and we took Brazil to the ropes.
“So [the Gold Cup] is a gateway to regional bragging rights, but also a gateway to a global competition.”
The U.S. will face Haiti on July 10 in the second of three group-stage matches, while the two other teams in Group A – Honduras and 2013 runners-up Panama – will play beforehand as part of a doubleheader.
It’ll be the first time the U.S. National Team has played at Gillette Stadium under the direction of Jurgen Klinsmann – having last visited Foxborough for a friendly against Spain in 2011 – and the ninth time the Americans have played a Gold Cup match at the venue, where they’re 6-0-2 in the competition.
Overall the U.S. National Team is 16-2-5 in Massachusetts (9-2-2 at Gillette Stadium), and at least part of the credit must go to the fantastic support local fans have provided.
“The Boston chapter and the New England chapters are two of our largest and strongest,” Wiersema said. “Any time we’re in the region, we know that hundreds or thousands of members are going to come out and support the U.S. We love the New England area.”