Soccer….Family Style

The Latest News from the Des Moines corner of the Soccer World
August 31, 2010, 1:40 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,
I have about a half dozen blog posts that I want to share with you all, but I’ve been alternating between being sick and catching up since I got back from South Africa. I want to tell you about how my three year old has learned to lead chants. I want to talk about the last game, and about the upcoming game in Chicago. But I haven’t been able to scrape together the time and energy to do it. But today, I had to take the time to update the blog. So I’m sitting here with my tea, and yet another round of antibiotics at midnight, writing about the day. But here’s the shocker….it has nothing to do with Bradley (that one will have to come tomorrow!)
This one is about the American Outlaws, and my journey with them. I started traveling to US Soccer games in 1993. Once I went to my first World Cup in 1994, I was hooked. But in Des Moines, Iowa, there wasn’t a whole lot of organization amongst soccer fans. When we got back from France in 1998, we tried to contact Sam’s Army about getting a brigade started in Iowa, but we barely got an answer, let alone support. Over the years, we tried to organize local watch parties with varying success.
Then, in 2007, my husband came home one night and said “You’ve got to check this out, there’s a group of guys starting a supporters group out of Lincoln, Nebraska.” I read the American Outlaws‘ website and was immediately in love. They sounded passionate, fun and engaged, and I was so excited that they were based here in the Midwest. I knew they’d get the challenges of organizing in mid sized cities. I sent them an email that same night, asking about whether there was an Iowa chapter.
And that’s where the adventure begins: because suddenly my email was the contact on the Outlaws website for the unofficial Iowa chapter. My husband and I had a great laugh that this website of hip college kids now had a mid-thirties mommy as their Iowa contact. We joked that I was now officially the biggest US Soccer fan in Iowa. We joked about our house being Iowa HQ, and our family would be all the members. We thought the whole thing was hilarious.
Then I started getting emails. Slowly at first, but then more frequently. Lucky for me, my friend Corey (aka SnakeEyes on Big Soccer) who has been active with the Des Moines Menace’s Red Army came onboard and helped me organize and run a Facebook page and listed our watch parties anywhere that would post for us. Once the Red Army guys were with us, it felt like our unofficial chapter had a life of it’s own. As the soccer community started to gear up for World Cup 2010, we stood about halfway to the required membership for Official Chapter status.
Well, today is the day that my husband and I have been waiting for, along with all the American Outlaws and soccer fans of Des Moines. Tonight we got the email that Des Moines is going to be the 38th official American Outlaws Chapter. After dreaming of an organized local supporters club for 17 years, this mom of 2, running a business, and a marriage and just trying to keep her head on straight, somehow went from a family inside joke, to the first chapter president of American Outlaws Des Moines.
Des Moines, once again, you make me proud. Red Army, I thank you and could not have done this without you guys. American Outlaws, I’m honored. Thanks for seeing a need in American soccer supporters and filling it in your own amazing way. Thanks for giving us the tools and motiviation to unite and strengthen our own little corner of the soccer world.
I encouage all of you out there wishing you had a local chapter. It’s as simple as telling Justin and Korey that you think _______ should have an American Outlaws chapter. You just might surprise yourself.

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