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The end of May brought exciting news for Phoenix area fans of the U.S. National Team. Phoenix now has an official chapter of the American Outlaws (AO) – a Supporters’ Group of the U.S. National Team with a network of chapters in cities across the country. Although many MLS PHOENIX RISING members are also AO members, until May we had not reached the minimum membership threshold in Phoenix to achieve “official” status. Some of the benefits of AO membership include discounts on airfares (Continental), hotels, and match tickets in the supporters’ section for U.S. matches. For example, the AOs offered a discounted travel package for U.S. fans to travel to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup. MLSPR is currently exploring the option of a joint MLSPR-AO membership that will get you the perks of both organizations (AO t-shirts, MLSPR scarf, etc.) at a discounted price. However, if you don’t want to wait, you can sign up for AO membership through their website.
As an official chapter, Phoenix will benefit from the resources of the national American Outlaw organization, which is well-managed, well-run, and transparent. A new website will be launched dedicated to AOPHX (with luck sometime before the start of the World Cup).
Phoenix’s official AO status is especially worth celebrating as the World Cup is about to kick off. AO chapters designate a bar or restaurant in their city as the official viewing site for all USMNT matches. This gives MLSPR members and other area soccer fans another option for watching U.S. matches—and a guarantee that there will be other enthusiastic U.S. fans there to cheer the team on with you. As many of you know, MLSPR also hosts viewing parties for U.S. matches – for example, we held viewing parties for almost all of the U.S. qualifiers during the most recent qualifying cycle. However, most of our viewing party activities are confined to the East Valley where we have had the most consistent and largest attendance. AO viewing parties will give fans in other parts of the Valley a viewing party option that may be closer to home. And MLSPR hopes to team up with AOPHX for joint activities too.
The AO viewing party for USA-England will be held at the 16th Street Sports Bar & Grill at 6522 N. 16th Street, Phoenix, AZ. For those of you who don’t want to travel to Chandler or Peoria for the MLSPR – Go USA Bid USA-England Viewing Extravaganzas, this is a good centrally-located viewing option. However, be aware that 16th Street Sports Bar & Grill is a very popular bar so you will need to get there early and no one under 21 will be admitted unless accompanied by an adult.
Tony Hernandez is the local leader of AOPHX. Until the official website launches, you can find out about AOPHX activities on the American Outlaws Phoenix – AOPHX page on Facebook.