The bar was packed shoulder to shoulder with a rainbow of color only containing red, white, and blue as hands and beers were raised in unison to accompany the deafening battle cry of three letters – U. S. A.
Although the evening ended in defeat for the United States Men’s National Soccer Team, also putting a stop to their run in this year’s World Cup, the fun has only begun for one of the team’s newest support groups: the Saratoga American Outlaws.
We are a small town but we are very passionate when it comes to US Soccer, said chapter head Thomas Komaromi. It’s very exciting to be in this region, it “almost feels that [you’re] in downtown Manhattan,” he said reflecting on their meetings.
What is the American Outlaws?
It is this passion, this camaraderie, and a charitable spirit that defines the American Outlaws. The American Outlaws is a non-profit organization that has two major missions.
They exist to support the United States National Soccer teams and to help spread the growth and the fanatical backing of the sport throughout the country.
And secondly, they aim to provide equal support to the communities that have raised chapters by giving back to local charities.
During World Cup matches, the Saratoga chapter raised money by raffling off apparel and equipment with proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior Project. We are so new that we are still looking for charities to throw our voices and wallets behind, said Thomas.
Who are the American Outlaws?
The real heartbeat of the organization and of the National Teams are the Outlaws themselves. Picture a cross between Uncle Sam and Jesse James.
Everyone who joins the Saratoga American Outlaws shows up to game watches at their local host – Harvey’s Restaurant and Bar – in a unique composition of red, white, and blue, united by a love for the sport.
We are a collection of rebels, renegades, and rabble-rousers leading songs, drinking beer, making everybody smile and spreading good cheer, said Thomas describing his chapter. Everybody is encouraged to be creative in their own way, to be different, always to have the courage to sing whatever the score, and most importantly to have fun and be friendly, he continued.
Thomas has always had a passion for soccer. In addition to drumming up unwavering support for the National Team, he is a diehard fan of reigning English Premier League Champions, Manchester City.
While most people like to kick back and relax to refuel, Thomas prefers to “run for 90 minutes on the pitch chasing a soccer ball.” Prior to meeting up to talk about Saratoga’s AO chapter, he had played two straight games – and he still wanted to showcase his love for the sport.
Attending an international friendly match at Gillette Stadium in 2011 between the United States and Spain, Thomas was able to see first-hand the influence and energy of the Outlaws. Inspired to join his own chapter, he noticed that there weren’t any chapters in Vermont, so he started his first club in his hometown at the time, Burlington, VT. I was a part of something extraordinary, he reflected.
After relocating to the area and falling in love with Saratoga’s charm, he wanted to give back to the community and started up his second chapter.
I’m inspired by “the excitement of uniting and strengthening the sport in the United States, which is nascent right now, but growing rapidly and being at the epicenter of the organization,” said Thomas.
Becoming an Outlaw
“We promise that [members] will have an exhilarating experience of fandom that they’ve never had in any other sport,” Tom laid out confidently.
During the World Cup, the chapter increased their membership from 10 to over 40 members, and they are looking to continue to expand the reach of the game and their charitable efforts.
If you are excited about your community, fueled by a love for soccer, or interested in a strong fellowship, check out the growing Saratoga chapter and sign up to become a member or check us out on Facebook.
The Ao Saratoga Prize is a free Offical American Outlaw Soccer Ball or Jersey
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