When the United States got eliminated from the 2006 World Cup by Ghana, I watched it in a sports bar with six other people.
Four years later, I watched the United States get eliminated – again by Ghana – in a packed bar with a number of American Outlaws supporters.
The Outlaws started in Lincoln, Neb., as a way to organize and energize the United States soccer supporter fan base, and it quickly spread across the country and into Sioux Falls, where it counts between 70-80 people as members, including me.
More than 20 of those members went down to Kansas City last week for a World Cup qualifier against Jamaica, and three of them were featured in a photo in this week’s Sports Illustrated.
The photo shows Justin Vanden Bosch in a Captain America costume, Jackson Rentschler on the left and Shawn Zuraff on the right.
Below the article, the magazine picked out some of its favorite American Outlaws logos, and Sioux Falls’ is first. The logo, which was designed by Uprise Design in Lincoln, Neb., features Mount Rushmore with the Outlaws’ trademark American flag bandannas covering their faces.
It’s some much-deserved recognition for the Sioux Falls chapter, which is run by soccer aficionado Clint Krahn.
“We have really picked up a lot of new members during the exciting HEX cycle,” he said. “It seems every watch party we have existing members bringing friends that are interested in checking out AO Sioux Falls and many of them sign up to be a member that night. I think a lot of people come expecting 90 minutes of players running up and down a field, but they leave bitten by the addictive bug know as the USMNT.”
The Sioux Falls American Outlaws’ chapter home is at the Gateway just off 41st Street west of I-29. The place was packed during a recent U.S.-Mexico game, and dozens show up even for the lower-profile matches.
The Sioux Falls chapter has its own scarves, shirts and even pint glasses with their logo on it. At the two recent games in Kansas City, the chapter arrived early and put their sign up in prime position behind the goal, showing up in photos and in TV coverage.
Krahn and other members were also featured in an online gallery of the Kansas City Star. You can see one of the photos below:
American Outlaws Sioux Falls chapter president Clint Krahn waves the U.S. flag as other Sioux Falls members sing the national anthem before the start of the United States’ game against Jamaica in Kansas City. (Kansas City Star)
A wild crowd got to see the United States beat Jamaica 2-0 with two second-half goals. For the first time, Sporting Park had to open both ends behind the goals for the American Outlaws because of high demand. In the supporter’s sections, fans all stand, chant and cheer.
“KC this year was the biggest gathering I have ever seen at Sporting Park,” Krahn said.
And with the World Cup only eight months away, support for the team — and interest in the Outlaws — will only grow.