Saturday morning I thought I knew what it was like to cheer for the U.S. Women’s National Team…then I became an American Outlaw for the day. As I’m heading to Busch Stadium for the match vs. New Zealand, I stopped by the best donut shop in all of the land, Strange Donuts. The looks I got when I walk in with a red, white, blue Mohawk, black face paint that screamed “I’m ready for battle” and a USA jersey on were awesome. One guy said, “I don’t know what you’re doing or where you’re going, but go USA!” As we left I told him we were heading to watch the U.S. Women’s Soccer team play, looking confused, it was clear they still didn’t know what I was referring to. I didn’t let that spoil my day.
As we entered the parking lot across from the Outlaws, a massive sea of flags were waving and I got this sudden sense of pride. I tailgated with the Missouri Rush Soccer Club team, and met Lindsey Horan (pic above), has been playing for the French side PSG since 2012. Despite being only 20 years old, Horan has already made two appearances for the National team as a forward. She is currently recovering from a knee injury. At one point she called Brittani Bartok (assistant soccer coach at UNC) to ask her where she was sitting during the game, but couldn’t get a hold of her. After talking for 15 minutes, she signed my ticket and took a picture with us; really a nice person and I hope in the future she makes plenty of appearances for the U.S.
Lindsay Horan – product of Colorado Rush SC
Next up was the march to the stadium with the Outlaws, as we are all getting in line; I meet a member of AO, Kate Wibbenmeyer. I can already tell the AO’s are super welcoming. She has been a 2 year member, but this was her first game as well with the Outlaws. Dressed head- to- toe in American gear and a bandana, it was an intimidating group. Wibbenmeyer explained why she joined AO before we began the march; “with the excitement from the Men’s World Cup and looking forward to the Women’s, it was something I knew I wanted to do” After chatting for a bit, she expressed her favorite player is Abby Wambach and she still loves to call Alex Morgan by her nickname “baby horse.” As we marched she was serious when talking about the future of the team. “I think Morgan Brian is great for the next generation of this team” An opinion I have thought myself when looking towards the next generation of potentially great players. I noticed she was wearing a Brad Davis Men’s National team jersey…who happens to be her brother-in-law.
It’s like a whirlwind at this point, marching and talking to the group I attached myself to. Yelling, chanting to the beat of 3 drums, we get to Busch and lines of fans are cheering. All seemed to have their phones out to capture this moment. I felt like a celebrity as we marched all the way around the stadium. We chanted one of my favorites; “We love you (x3), and where you go we’ll follow (we’ll follow, x2), because we support the US (the US x 2), and that’s the way we like it (we like it, we like it) whooooaaaaaa, whooooooaaa.” It was really thrilling to be a part of the march and something I hope to do more of in the future.
We get to our seats, section 105 behind the goal, and we were lucky at how close we were to the field. Standing 4 rows up, we all settled in as the game began. 92 minutes of nonstop cheers, chants and yelling. I felt extremely happy when the rest of the stadium could hear us. Nothing says ‘merica’ better than high-fiving random people after the first goal and then becoming best friends for the rest of the afternoon. Another favorite chant of mine was towards the Kiwis; appropriately called “You’re just Australia number two.” Throughout the game we led the (record-breaking) crowd of 35,817, and after each of the four goals, the place went crazy. It was amazing how loud we were. Such an incredible sound to hear our voices united as one.
After the game I got to know one of the newest Outlaw drummers, Ryan Malaschak from Illinois. He has been to 40 U.S. games but this was his first with the Outlaws. Malaschak has been crafting his work on the drum for 25 years, and mainly does so for STLFC, the newest team in the USL Pro. “As a fan growing up, soccer was just a part of life for me; this atmosphere is so unreal” Malaschak said.
As a small group of AO’s left the stadium heading back to the parking lot, we continued to chant “USA. USA, USA”. Those who were sitting outside the stadium cheered us on, applauding us for what we were doing. It was a strange, yet cool feeling when something as simple as yelling for your favorite team can make me so proud. In that moment, I felt nothing but passion and pride for this country. The STL Outlaws are a diverse group, with men, women and children participating of various ages. It’s a fantastic way to experience a U.S. game.
With memories to last a lifetime, I was on my way home. I was exhausted and felt like I had actually played in the game; but it was definitely worth it. The American Outlaws are known for being loud and rowdy, but every person I encountered was so nice. We all wanted the same thing; to witness a U.S. win at Busch.
With a 4-0 victory, our dreams came true. Being an American Outlaw for the day was incredible and I’m thankful for everyone who was a part of it happening. I realized I don’t want to have the American dream; I want to be an American Outlaw.