Soccer….Family Style

Beating the American Outlaws Stereotype
September 12, 2013, 12:11 pm
Filed under: Supporter Culture, US Soccer | Tags: , , , ,

girlCLAre there any real journalists left out there? I understand when MassiveFC writes a blog without getting comments, but when a “journalist” like Mark Zeigler starts tweeting things like “All those cheers you hear on TV are not spontaneous. A guy is on a mic with speakers telling people what to chant, and when. #contrived” and “@PCHartwell @AmericanOutlaws Guess it’s the sausage factory deal.” it makes me wonder if anyone knows how to actually write something above the blogosphere fray where people hear rumors and race for pitchforks and torches.

Mr. Zeigler, while it’s clear you have your bias against American Outlaws, have you done any work to see what’s actually going on out there? If you had, you might have seen this group of women at the AO Chapter Leaders meeting. That’s not all the women who are Outlaws. Those are the chapter leaders who were in Columbus. There are many righteous women in American Outlaws, and you insult us when you stereotype AO as a sausage fest.

Now back to your lackluster reporter skills. Did you do any research on the backstory of the capos, or were you inadvertently throwing fuel? Maybe catch up a little…first, Massive wrote about a supposed Seattle takeover, which was a piece with more emotion that whole truth, which prompted me to tell people to step up or go to their rooms. There’s certainly an intelligent discussion to be had about capo vs no capo, in fact, @ClevelandGooner and I already had it. When you talk about the frat boys being off key, you should know that you are insulting some of the finest men who support US Soccer, men that I have traveled around the world with, and men who deserve more credit than your playground bully sniping about being on key. Had you bothered to leave the press box and do your job, there was a story to write here. It goes like this: ***EDIT I AM SWITCHING TO THIRD PERSON BECAUSE IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE A FAKE ARTICLE….

song sheetAfter all the debate about capo vs no capo, the American Outlaws were ready to go with their first attempt at blending the noise level you can get from mic’d capos with the spontaneity of Columbus in section leadership. The plan was in place, capos stationed around the stadium. Song cards with truce plans to share the stage between AO and local supporters were distributed. A last minute security alert nixed the plans for capo stands, which was fine with AO Des Moines’ capo Tanya Keith. “I’m used to capoing from the section, so this is more comfortable for me.” But Keith would not be comfortable for long. The speaker system set up and tested pre game failed to convey the sound from the North End to the South end, leaving the South End capos to work out plan B on the fly. Keith’s children, ages six and ten, who often attend games dressed, got the crowd fired up by running up and down the South End with an American flag. When asked if this was her first cap, daughter “Wonder Woman” told the shocked fan “This is my 23rd cap, and my brother’s 14th. It’s my third #dosacero match. Dos a Cero is the nickname supporters have given the quadrennial 2-0 beat down of Mexico, and clearly, even the children understand the importance of the match.

The South End’s capos did their best, coordinating with the North End, who could often be heard clearly without speakers, when they could, allowing organic Columbus-style chants to fill the void. Once Keith finished her first half obligations, she sprinted to the North End at halftime to try to coordinate a plan for the failed speakers. She arrived just in time to see Eddie Johnson’s first goal hit the back of the net and explode the Nordedecke into a riot of sound, smoke, scarves, and red, white, and blue. Keith said “Once that happened, I was too superstitious to go back to the South End, and we were so loud, it was the best I could do to help out my family and friends back on the South side.” Anyone who has traveled to all the qualifying matches has to admit, Columbus lived up to the folklore, once again delivering an amazing fan experience, and a Dos a Cero mythology so strong, it even blocked a late game penalty kick attempt by new Seattle Sounder, Clint Dempsey. Keith summed it up, “I love traveling the US following and supporting this team. People see us capos as people who spend the game with our backs to the field, and they don’t get it. We watch the game reflected in the faces of our fellow supporters. They tell us when we need to turn around and watch the field. When I feel the energy coming out of the stands from a crowd like Columbus always brings, it’s the best natural high I know.”

Soccer fans will note, nothing is forever. Azteca was once the most fabled, unbeatable, home field advantage perhaps in all the world. We have seen the beautiful diversity of supporter clubs in America as we’ve traveled following World Cup Qualifying and Gold Cup this summer, from the consistent quality product of Seattle to the crab cakes and pit beef of Maryland. But as long as the Dos a Cero wall continues to stand at Crew Stadium, Americans know where their home field advantage is for US vs Mexico, right here in Columbus, Ohio.


Drops capo mic.

21 Comments so far
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How did you just brag about cappoing when you ditched your responsibilities?

You know who tried to get the PA fixed? I did, by working with US Soccer and the sound tech. I had to send my phone with the tech because he had no way to talk to the other side of the stadium.

You know who worked to get everything together by listening to the North End and running back and forth from cappo to cappo? I did, until I was kicked kicked out of the front because I did not have your wristband. What was your answer “I can’t hear them so we will just do our own thing”. Additionally, your husband’s drum made it impossible to try and connect because he was off beat and would not let us try to hear what was being sung.

You abandoned your section without a cappo while you joined the North End Party. I can tell you this. You will not be cappoing in Kansas City. You proved yourself ineffective and unable to respond to adversity effectively.

Props to Daniel Green from AO Wichita and the rest of the South Cappos that stayed and put in work.

I am not posting this because I want praise. Thats not what I do at all. But you need a reality check.

On a side note, I don’t find it cute to watch a 6 or 10 year old lead the Bull Shit chant. And your kids had no idea where you were after the game. Nice work.

Drops the reality mic.

Sean Dane, AOKC

Comment by Sean Dane

Wow, Sean. I’d be happy to put you in touch with the guys from AO so you can get a wristband next time. It’s not hard, you just have to volunteer before game day. Then you’d know that I was only scheduled to work the first half at South 5, so I could watch the game in the second half. Instead of watching with my family, I left my kids with their very capable father and went to try to get more communication with North End. I didn’t abandon the section as much as worked OT, just not immediately in front of you.

I must have misunderstood your offer of help. Because it sounded more like screaming at me for trying to get cheers started in our section despite not being able to consistently hear North End. We’re all frustrated, but you bashing me during the game wasn’t really helping me get better, now was it? #1 reason I left South End was your leaning over the fence and getting in my face.

You’re right that my husband is not a professional drummer, but he’ll gladly hand off to anyone who will do better, and he was drumming in time with the North End, to your goal of uniting the sections. Next time, if you could make you offer of “help” sound less like a scathing attack of our attempts to get it started, that would help. At least we can agree on one thing, Daniel Green AO Wichita was the hero of the South End. When everyone was yelling at us, he was the one that helped me keep going through my first half shift. He was a better man than you or I.

I guess Mommy Shaming is the new slut shaming? If you don’t like watching my kids, don’t watch them. My kids may not have known exactly where I was after the game, but they knew I was on the way, because I was in constant contact by phone. And again, they do have a Dad…it’s OK for them to be alone with him every once in a while, since I’m home with them every day. I’d love to go on, but I gotta take my kids to soccer practice.

You want to Unite and Strengthen and help me become a better capo in your training program at SKC, I’d love to come learn. When you all were short capos at your Open Cup final last summer, I was happy to help step up and I learned a lot from your people. In fact, KC is the only MLS I capo, so if you don’t like what I do…well, you know where I learned it now. If not, it’s my daughter’s birthday…I’m cool with taking the day off.

Comment by soccerfamilystyle

Funny Tanya, I was at all the meetings before the match, but didn’t see you offering help once. Every other capo that wasn’t setting up the display(which you weren’t) was at the meetings. Did you ever wonder why everyone was booing you? Do you think that maybe it has to do with your smug arrogance?

Comment by Zach Davis

Oh, Zach. You’re cute. You were at “all” the meetings? I didn’t see you at the chapter leader meeting at 11 AM, but I was there. I didn’t see you at the tifo set up at 2 PM, but we were there, setting up the South Stand flag and banner. I offered to help with North End tifo, but they were already full by the time we finished the South end, and they wanted all unnecessary people out to test the tifo. I got back to the capo meeting at 4, got my briefing and band from Hexsel. I’m sure he’d be happy to confirm all of the above. You want to tell me again about how hard you work for this team?

Comment by soccerfamilystyle

And if you let any supporter boo any capo, it says more about you than it does about me, but frankly, no, I didn’t hear any booing.

Comment by soccerfamilystyle

Well Tanya, maybe you should’ve looked at who you thanked for bringing the big flag in. Me and one other guy brought that in and I was setting up for the 50 flag display. You’re welcome, by the way.

As far as not being at the meeting, all the other capos were there, save for 2 who were local capos that were setting up the main tifo.

Comment by Zach Davis

Then how did you miss me carrying in the South End flag, Iowa flag, banner and drums? When I met with Hexsel, there were 5 other people getting instructions on capo duties. Are you sure you didn’t miss me there too?

Comment by soccerfamilystyle


I don’t know Tanya personally. All I do know about Tanya is based on her excellent reputation with my local AO and AOs I know from around the country, and based on the few interactions I’ve had with her on Twitter, which have been nothing but warm and friendly. All I know about you is what I’ve been able to surmise from the one comment you’ve written here. But even knowing that little about both of you, I can say that you really owe her an apology for coming to her blog and leaving this comment.

This isn’t how AOs should talk about their differences, or the problems that arise in an admittedly hectic game situation. If you have problems with the way somebody did something, that’s cool and so is trying to find a solution to that problem, but condescending to people the way you have here is not part of what makes our AO Family great.

Furthermore, your comments about her family are way, way, way out of line. I was absolutely shocked when I read what you wrote. I was pushed to the point I had to say something.

This isn’t what being AO is about.


Comment by ben (@beardyblue)

At this point all he wants is attention..Not to mention he has no idea of what the sport and American Outlaws are really all about. He feeds of his arrogance and giving him attention is only driving more traffic to him.

I am starting to think he might just not like the idea of soccer taking over America..


*Fellow AO from San Diego….

Comment by Erick

So… did anybody go to actually watch the fucking game? Or do you clowns not care about the 11 boys in Red, White, and Blue on the field anymore? Get over yourselves, all of you.

Comment by Scott

Remember the days when we would all just get together and cheer on our team and our nation? Remember it was more important to know what was going on within the field of play and not in the stands? You guys are so infatuated with the smell of your own farts, you really think that this is all about proving something to each other.

I’ll be the guy at the games cheering for my country, regardless of what you “know-it-all’s” are telling me to do.

Comment by David

Trust me, I was offered a wrist band in the afternoon but was told everything was covered. As someone who spends an immense amount of games cappoing, I chose not to. I did respond when there were clear failures.

Don’t think that you are an SKC Cappo, or think that you are helping us any. I assure you we are fine.

I did try to help you. Its frustrating to hear someone that is supposed to be leading and coordinating say nevermind, I can’t hear them. That is exactly what you did. When we asked you husband to stop the off-beat drumming so we could try to hear what was happening, he refused.

You are quick to jump on Seattle bashing. You quick to jump on those that criticise AO. You are quick to tout your own sacrifice. All i see come out of you is divisiveness. You even told one of our cappos to get out of your way in KC for the Guatemalan game only to abandoned the position later.

It’s people that think they are entitled because of the number of caps they have that make things worse. So far, that is all I have seen out of you.

Comment by Sean Dane

I gotta tuck kids in, so I’m just copy/pasting what I wrote on your FB post, even though it’s not perfect. I hope we can start working towards joining forces on making KC epic, Sean. In response: Guys, read the post. It’s a response to a reporter. I wrote a fake article, tongue in cheek, not at all in seriousness. I come from a PDL market….so I get 8 games a year maybe to capo 20 people. I don’t claim to be a great capo, to the contrary, if you ask my friends, I was super nervous about doing this game. I claim to be a willing one. Sean Dane, I appreciate the add, and welcome the dialog. I’ve spoken privately to the guy that was supposed to take my place in 2nd half, because I feel terrible that my space was left open when I thought it was covered. He told me that he heard you talking to my husband and I, and he was so intimidated, he panicked and didn’t capo. I think you were more intimidating than you knew. We were ALL frustrated with the failed sound system, and all doing the best we could. I know you meant well, but you scared people who were trying out of doing it. I also talked to my husband who said when you complained about drumming to him, he handed you the drum and said “please…do better.” We’re all on the same team, but we don’t all have your experience. Next time, please educate, not intimidate. I hope we can all power down and that my family and I will be welcomed in KC. We love coming to KC for Sporting and US Soccer, and had a great time on the Roaddron in Chicago.

Comment by soccerfamilystyle

Sean, I was right behind you in this section. Please explain what your TRUE actions were, before i do…

Comment by Jack

Jack, please do tell his true actions. I want to see this.

As for the comments toward her kids’ actions, that is not your business and only reflects your perspective. It’s just words. There are others that recognize this. As someone that knows her personally, her kids are well behaved and are awesome BTW. She and her husband have done what I would go if I had kids: explain that when you go to sporting events, there is language that isn’t appropriate elsewhere. They know it’s “stadium language”. As opposed to the parents many of us have complained about that want to silence supporters because of language being bad for their kids.

Comment by Corey

I think Sean has not answered the bell. Time for Jack to let us know his true actions. I’m excited to hear this. I’m not a huge supporter of hers but Tanya may not be perfect at what she does, but she at least tries. Funny that can’t be said about a lot of us, including myself.

And to Sean Dane, I do not know you other than your blog post here. But needless to say you are the one that comes across as arrogant and pompous. You have just about embarrassed AOKC and Sporting KC in general as the kid yelling “Fuck Your Heritage” during Mexico’s National Anthem in the north stands.

And to Mr. Dane, I would probably be best knowing you through the blogosphere as you seem like one of those guys who could use a punch in the face to bring them back to reality.

Can we just fucking go to Brazil now!

Comment by Dosa Cero

You’ll likely have to wait for morning for Jack, as I have it on good authority that he’s gone to bed. I know there’s one more who has a similar post planned, but he’s on the road. Patience, friends. Thanks for commenting.

Comment by soccerfamilystyle

Time is up Sean

Comment by Corey

Where do I start, I personally realized I couldn’t capo bc of Sean and other KC guys. It took me a minute to realize, I’d seen them before, in KC last year. I started 10 -15 chants from inside the section, almost directly behind you sean. I saw you get asked, politely to leave the walkway, you lost your shit, started cursing Tanya’s husband for his drumming, bashed Tanya for being on the other side, then called them bad parents bc, as you said “you’re not paying attention to your kids.” Please feel free to clarify any of this if it’s false. Several ppl around me even thought your actions were disgusting. While I firmly hope these actions were fueled by alcohol, I could see your passion. If I see you in KC I’ll talk to you face to face.

Comment by Jack

A couple things.

First, we all wanted the game to be perfect with the US winning 2-0, clinching a place in Brazil, the crowd to be in tune, completely synced up throughout the entire stadium, and everyone walking away happy with birds singing, and woodland creatures frolicking through the tailgate.

The US did win 2-0. We got our ticket to Brazil. The fan support was outstanding. Most people had a great time. I didn’t hear any birds or see any rabbits so I think we missed on that part.

I knew we wouldn’t be in tune but we were loud. The important things were taken care of. I was hoping for completely synced and had high hopes that everything would work flawlessly. Unfortunately it didn’t. I was watching the North end and it was working there. You could see all of the hands clapping in unison from one side to the other. That in itself was impressive. At least 10 full sections of fans in unison. Seattle, Portland, KC, Chicago, etc really only get 4 maybe 5 at the most active sections all game long. The edges of the SG’s at MLS games I’ve attended are not nearly as engaged as the middle sections. Crew stadium had at least 10 full sections in unison from top to bottom. Unfortunately technology and some other factors didn’t allow that on the South end. We all wanted more but it was well done just the same.

Think about what was being attempted. For the first time in history in the US, both ends of a stadium were trying to be synchronized with the goal of getting the entire stadium going together on chants for the entire 90 minutes. Not just one chant…. ALL of them. It was a lofty goal. In the grand scheme of things it went better than I expected for the first try. When the sound system failed, I was watching the capos and the North stands to try and keep the beat on time. Not easy when you have people on both sides of you yelling in your ear off beat of the pacing group. At the time, I admitted I was off from the section because I was attempting to keep time with the rest of the stadium and not do our own thing. These are things to work on for next time but to blame individual people for imperfection is not going to move things forward.

I don’t know how it was in Seattle, Portland, DC, or many of the other MLS SG’s in the early days but I’m going to guess they all had growing pains. I’m guessing they went from a handful of people, to a hundred, to a couple hundred, to the size they are now. At each growth spurt things had to change. Some stuff worked, others didn’t but they pushed forward because they knew that was the only way to go. Backwards wasn’t a viable option. Now is the time to look at what worked, what didn’t, and hopefully figure out what to do better next time. It has to be done with professional discourse. Telling someone with 21 years of professional engineering experience and who graduated as a Mechanical Engineer from the geekiest and one of the highest ranked engineering universities in the country that they don’t understand physics is not going to get you heard. There is a time and a place to criticize. In the middle of the game is not it.

I remember when the Cauldron in KC was about 25 people behind the goal at the minor league baseball stadium. Somehow they got bigger and better. Now is the time to share the knowledge, not point fingers and complain. There are many people out there ready and willing to listen and learn. They are willing to do the work. Let’s do some work. I want KC to work. Both ends of the stadium will be full of US fans wanting to make it work. We’ve got 4 weeks. Let’s get going.

OK, second point and more on topic with the blog…..
Right now the stereotype of the American Outlaw group is a “Frat Party”. That is what was reported. If by “Frat Party” he meant people unafraid to show emotion, scream at the top of their lungs, and not care about what other people think of them while doing that, then I think it’s fair. Unfortunately I think it is meant to mean an early 20’s self absorbed guy who won’t let you into their party. Sure there are people at games like that but there are also plenty of women, people who are older, who are honestly nice, and most definitely want to share the party. I would say in the area right around me it was 60-40 men to women. Hardly a sausage fest that was implied by the initial writer. A lot of misinformation has been spewed recently and passed off as fact. Mark Zeigler was taking the easy road and not actually finding out “why” the mics were being used (maybe ask the person using it) or determining who was in the crowd before sending out nonsense to the masses. He was falling into the 24 hr news cycle pitfall of get something out there now, who cares if it’s right or not. I expect better.

Comment by Doug

[…] thing. Speaking personally, I had some ugly experiences at the hands of Cauldron members after my “Stereotype” post including continued comments that are too ugly to ever see the light of day on this blog. Things […]

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