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The FBM Blog

What’s Next?


A word containing so much unknown. Next can be hopeful. Next can be scary. Like it or not, though, next is coming. There is a sense of inevitability. And the choice then becomes to fight what comes next or embrace what comes next.

So what’s next for the Free Beer Movement?

If you read the site (thanks mom and dad) you’ve probably noticed that a) I don’t post a lot b) I haven’t posted in awhile and c) there was a half-hearted attempt to try something daily. By the way those are all verbatim quotes from my parents on the state of this site.

At first glance this could be a treatise on the state of blogs on the Internet or the struggle of independent soccer writers to find their place in the world or the failure on the FBM philosophy. It’s none of those. Or all of them.

1) Blogging is hard 2) Yeah, no one gets paid for it for a long time. If ever. 3) No. FBM rules and the idea is awesome and it’s not going anywhere.

For the past ten years I’ve devoted myself to public education. First in the inner-city of Milwaukee, then dusty and dangerous San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and lastly in Austin, Texas. From abroad to home was born the idea and the execution of the Free Beer Movement. A pledge to be a better soccer fan and a better beer drinker.

On both accounts I think I’ve done a damn good job of.

Last year though, the realities and difficulties of being a teacher wore me down while the hopes and dreams of a life in soccer lifted me up.  For the better part of two years I’ve been living a double and triple life.

Since the summer of 2013 I volunteered to help run events for the American Outlaws. That “job” brought me to every home World Cup qualifier, a Gold Cup triumph, a men’s World Cup and trips to England and Ireland.

Since the fall of 2013 I’ve free-lanced for Major League Soccer in their social media department. That “job” brought me to MLS Cup, a dozen of live matches, and hundreds of hours on the couch getting paid to post terrible puns accompanying news and highlights to social media and revel in Internet’s collective groan at them.

Entering the 2014-2015 school year I was presented with two offers: 1) take over the day-to-day communications of American Outlaws, help plan events, and lead our efforts to build out the women’s side of this incredible supporters group and 2) to dive in deeper with MLS social media; still as a freelancer, but with more opportunities to subject it’s followers to my awful sense of humor.

With both hands I grabbed.

Which, consequently, meant I had to set down my beer(s).

(Ignore the visual, if you’re thinking too hard about it, that I was teaching with beers in each of my hands. For the record… that would be wrong.)

A month ago school bells rang out across Texas and for the first time in a decade I wasn’t in front of a classroom.  No young minds to nourish, no lessons to develop, no papers to grade, and no more ups or downs that comes with the wild world of public education. It was a bittersweet moment for sure.

But a new adventure began a few months earlier when I left my campus, a car full of books and boxes filled with the 100+ scarves that decorated my geography classroom. In just four months I’ve seen an amazing group of women lift a World Cup trophy in Canada, watched an awful group of men bomb at the Gold Cup, and been to New York City and back having joined an incredible team at MLS with so much drive and desire to do cool things in the social space.

Now if you follow FBM on social media (more likely than regularly reading this site) you would’ve noticed that indeed the beers continue to flow and the soccer continues to be watched even if abbreviated sometimes because of my other professional duties.  This site, however, is mostly dead. And I think it’s important to acknowledge that even if occasionally I come back here to post just for fun.

Where does that leave the Free Beer Movement? Alive and well. It’s originator Joe Stange birthed the idea in 2006 (something we pay tribute to on our crest) on a (also) now-defunct blog and told me when I asked to take the reigns of the Movement, “no one can own an idea”.

The Free Beer Movement continues to grow beyond my wildest dreams. What started out as a personal quest drew the attention of many, many other like-minded fans committed to “building American soccer one beer at a time”. As long as beer and soccer continue to exist so will FBM. It belongs not wholly to me, but to each person that practices it.

I never thought that the FBM would present itself as an opportunity to work in the soccer world and I have no idea where it may take me next. But right now I’ll continue to do my part to fulfill the FBM Philosophy, grow American Outlaws, and support Major League Soccer as best as I can.

To whatever is next, but always #CheersToSoccer,

Dan Wiersema
Founder, Free Beer Movement
Communications, The American Outlaws
Social Media, Major League Soccer


The Morning Shot: Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Just a couple of things to give your morning that “kick” it needs.


What if Nike had the MLS jersey contract?


These sorts of design concepts pop up every once-in-a-while, but this one might be the cleanest, sexist set of MLS kits we've ever seen. Not that adidas does a bad job, but sometimes forcing the “three stripes” into every jersey is a bit much. 

Best part of the whole concept? Sock game strong. 

Check out the whole collection.

The rise of John Strong, MLS announcer

Neat interview with Fox Sports' John Strong who rose from announcing high school football games on the Internet to the Portland Timbers to becoming the AMERICAN voice of soccer. 


Union and Sporting advance to U.S. Open Cup Final. 

Philadelpha dispatched the Chicago Fire 1-0 while KC put on a clinic beating Real Salt Lake 3-1. The Union will host the Final for the second straight year on September 30th at PPL Park.  

Your coffee-spitting moment of the morning… Guinness factory's excess heat might help power local hospital.

Photo by Free Beer Movement

Breweries have a long history of upcycling their biproducts from spent grains going to local farmers or dog treats, but now a power source?

“A feasibility study is due to begin shortly on whether excess heat produced by St James's Gate could be recycled and used to heat the €650m hospital, helping to reduce costs, the Irish Independent has learned.”

See ya tomorrow!

Tags: Morning Shot

The Morning Shot: Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Just a couple of things to give your morning that “kick” it needed. 


American soccer's oldest tournament continues tonight with the U.S. Open Cup semifinals. 

Chicago Fire and Philadelphia Union face off at PPL Park at 7:30pm ET while the heated Sporting KC and Real Salt Lake rival resumes at 8:30pm ET from Kansas City, Kansas. 

The Final, which will be on September 30th, will be hosted by the Fire if they advance. RSL, the Union, and SKC, in that order, would host if the Fire lose.

Both can be watched on U.S. Soccer's YouTube page. 


Dutch 'keeper scores one of the best goalie or non-goalie strikes of the year (already).

Apparently he was also a trialist for Orlando City SC last year. Whelp… you can't hold onto 'em all….


Carli Lloyd is better at pitching (and soccer) than Giovanni Dos Santos. 

U.S. Soccer is trying to trademark the fan-created “Dos a Cero”.

Not cool, bro. Not cool.


How can craft beer continue to be successful and grow in the United States? Dogfish Head founder/owner Sam Calagione has an idea:

“The three legs any successful craft brewery has to be on today…is quality, consistency and being well-differentiated. To figure out a way to create beer you can tell a unique, exciting story around, the way you can enjoy your beer as compared to another beer. We have to be hopeful that craft brewers will be as committed to quality control as they are being creative…Twenty years ago, there was very little use of the Internet to connect beer lovers, so breweries could open and maybe be hitting on two of those cylinders. Now, there is such a great choice that expectations are way higher and the access to online beer communities and beer education is immediate and robust.”

“I realize I am beating a dead horse here, but that focus on quality and consistency, in addition to the passion for creating good beers. The reputation craft beer got in the late 1990s, when we had a sort of shakeup in the movement, was that some people were more passionate about making money than they were passionate about making quality beer.”

Read more from Sam on the Denver Post's beer blog “First Drafts”.


Your coffee spitting moment of the morning…. Wheaties is making their own beer. 

The Minneaspolis-based cereal company General Mills is partnering with local brewery Fulton to create the hefe-style beer. 

So where can you find HefeWheaties?

“For a limited time, beginning August 26, it will be available in the Twin Cities market in a 16oz. tallboy can. 4-packs will be sold at limited retailers in the area, while quantities last. HefeWheaties will not be available for shipment or purchase outside of Minnesota.

Also, the Fulton taproom in Minneapolis will host several events featuring HefeWheaties, with the first being held on August 26.”

See ya tomorrow!

Tags: Morning Shot

The After Bar: USMNT 2 – Chile 3

Image Credit: Getty Images



Analysis from some of American soccer's best writers and sites: 

Grant Wahl (Sports Illustrated): “USMNT experiments, falls again in 2015-opening loss to Chile”

Yanks Are Coming: “Why, Klinsy, Why?”

Matt Doyle ( “A new formation, but the same old rut for USMNT”

Brian Straus (Sports Illustrated): “Despite familiarity, loss to Chile leaves big questions for Klinsmann, U.S.”

Kyle Bonn (NBC Sports): “3-5-2 system shows life, but plenty of work is needed”

Jeffery Carlisle (ESPN): “A porous U.S. defense allows Chile to rally in exhibition loss”

Player Ratings

Greg Seltzer (

Brian Sciaretta (New York Times)

American Soccer Now

Nicholas Mendola (NBC Sports)

Tags: The After Bar, USMNT

A Six-Pack With…. Teddy Goalsevelt (Again)

By Dan Wiersema / Founder, FBM

In June 2014, during the United States' match against Portugal in the World Cup, America's bars and living rooms were invaded like San Juan Hill with the visage of Mr. Teddy Goalsevelt. He immediately became an Internet and real-life sensation. In the month's afterwards Teddy faded into the background like so many memories of the Brazil. Mike D'Amico, who played the part of the 26th President, returned to a mostly normal world of an everyday soccer fan. 

In preparing for our Free Beer Movement 2014 Person of the Year piece on the American soccer fan (which included D'Amico's Goalsevelt) we caught up with the Chicago native on what he's life has been like post-WC.


Free Beer Movement: I realized that when we last spoke I only asked about the story of “Teddy Goalsevelt” and not Mike D'Amico's story. 

Teddy Goalsevelt: I should also preface that story with the fact that I am a died-in-the-wool football guy. I played all the way through college; was All-American. So I was sort of brought up in the culture of soccer being dumb and for people who can't play football. Which fed into my never giving it a try.

I casually followed World Cup '06 and enjoyed it. Watched lots of the matches, but didn't understand what I was watching.

Kept an eye on US Soccer for the next few years, and really threw myself at World Cup '10 as a fan. What a ride. I loved it.

So I said to myself, maybe there's something here? Maybe this doesn't have to be a once every four years thing? So I devised a plan to become a soccer fan.

FBM: This was the “Soccer Boot Camp” you mentioned?

TG: Yeah. I realized that what was holding me back was knowledge. We all grow up and absorb our sports almost through osmosis. We all know the rules: why NY hates Boston, who the greats are/were, etc. It's innate. It's our culture.

Soccer isn't.

And so I figured that was the biggest hurdle, was building that foundation of knowledge. So that summer… I gave myself one month. All I was allowed to watch, read, or listen to was soccer-related media. I figured if I can't come out of this a soccer fan I never will.

And I did.

So I started following MLS and EPL closer. Went to more Fire matches. Found Tottenham Hotspur. Started traveling to see USMNT play. The rest is history.

FBM: How would you describe your fandom since returning from Brazil? Have you attended many matches or watched a lot of soccer since?

TG: I attended some Fire matches, including the Spurs v. Fire friendly, but haven't been able to make any U.S. matches since getting back. Unfortunately, real life has been getting in the way. But of course I watch all the time, and follow the EPL closely every week.

Having my best fantasy soccer season ever!

FBM: I never did get a chance to talk beer with ya.. what's your favorite beer? 

TG: Having a favorite beer is like having a favorite child. They're all different and I love them dearly.

But my go to is always a classic Guinness. I like Stouts generally. Porters, wits, most anything Belgian (I can say that safely now, right?), and a good lager are also frequent picks.

I do have to say, though… my palate does not agree with the current hoptacular trend. But I'm hanging in there.

FBM: Have you brought any newbies to any games lately?

TG: As far as introducing new people, a couple highlights there. A local radio personality had me on their show a few times as the World Cup was wrapping up, and as most mainstream sports guys do, they made fun of soccer. Which, I get, but wasn't going to put up with.

So I threw it down, “Have you ever actually BEEN to a soccer match?”

“Uhhhh… no… ?” they responded.

“Ok, then you don't get to make fun of soccer any more until you go with me to a Fire match.”

And they did a couple weeks later. Blew. Their. Minds.

“Wait, soooooo these people stand and sing THE WHOLE TIME?!”

FBM: Has the getup made any appearances recently?

TG: None recently. But a couple weeks after the World Cup had ended, there was a huge party thrown by a production company here in Chicago. The Optimus Block Party; it's one of the biggest of the year in the ad industry in Chicago. They close down a street for it. And every year they have a secret/special/surprise guest.

This year, they were going to play it cool and just have this band they brought in. But at the last second they decided to bring me on board, too, so I got to join some elite company. Past guests include, Chocolate Rain Guy, Rod Blagojevich, the Old Spice “Hello, Ladies” Guy… and now me.

FBM: Elite company indeed. Plans to attend the World Cup in Russia in 2018?

TG: Oh fo sho. I'm trying to get everyone I know to do it.

FBM: I mean Teddy did win the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize negotiating peace in the Russo-Japanese war in 1904-05. Perhaps he can settle some nerves again in Russia. 

TG: Coincidence?

FBM: I think not.

Tags: Beer, Six-Pack Interview Series, USMNT

FBM’s Person of the Year 2014


By Dan Wiersema / Founder, FBM

2014 was massive year for soccer in America. Millions of newbies “believed” in a men's national team in Brazil, Men “blazed” a new trail to NBC Sports, and a “LegenD” ended his career in a winning fashion. Along the way Major League Soccer continued to grow to new heights (through attendance, ratings, and expansion bumps), the women's national team learned its path to more (hopefully) World Cup glory, and, well, Dom Dwyer and Sydney Leroux happened

So who do you get to represent all that is good in the American soccer world in 2014? What person or group represents a year where soccer surged ahead, again, to continue its meteoric rise worming its way into the American sporting landscape?

The American soccer fan. 

And who better to carry the banner for them?

Teddy in Manaus. Photo Credit: FBM

Teddy Goalsevelt.

Goalsevelt, aka Mike D'Amico of Chicago, rose to fame when his screaming Presidential mug appeared on ESPN's broadcast during the US-Portugal match. By the time the advertising agency man returned to his hotel room in Natal (and wifi) he had become the “face of American soccer”. Between Manaus and Recife interviews piled up as did an invite from U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati to rally the crowd (alongside Will Ferrell) the night before the USMNT's final group match against Germany. 

Teddy and me in Recife

But what makes Teddy the Free Beer Movement's “Person of the Year” for 2014 is more than just a face; he represents the evolution of the American soccer fan. I interviewed Mr. Goalsevelt at the height of his 15 minutes of fame and what struck me was how friendly, articulate, and humble D'Amico was. He came to Brazil as just another of the 500-plus American Outlaws traveling en masse to support the national team. He wasn't the first to don a costume or even the first to represent one of our nation's Presidents; he wasn't looking for a patriotic frat party or place to be a jingoistic nationalist. 

D'Amico represents the American soccer fan at the peak of the team's and the sport's popularity this summer and that the love affair with soccer in this country isn't just a every-four-years thing. As Major League Soccer moves into its second decade and our national teams complete regularly on the global stage our fans too have evolved and garnered national and international respect. The outpouring of support for the national team this summer was larger than ever before, but not spontaneous as outsiders would like to imagine.

The foundation was being laid in the four years between our dismissal from South Africa by Ghana and Clint Dempsey's revenge inside Arena Das Dunas.

In stadiums and bars from coast to coast the American soccer fan grew in the last four years. The packed watch parties in parks and pubs were the results of supporters from all walks of life building American soccer for this summer's mainstream moment. 

A belief in this sport that everything has led to here where American soccer no longer has to answer the question “when will soccer make it in the U.S.?” to a confident statement, “soccer has made it”.

Photo Credit: USA Today

The American soccer fan is no longer something for others to scoff at. They talk tactics. I'd put up our fans soccer smarts alongside any others' around the world. Their tifo game is on point. Places like Portland, Seattle, New England, Kansas City, and New York are looking more and more like Dortmund, Milan, Barcelona, and beyond. Most importantly is that the American soccer fan is more open, more gracious that their worldly counterparts. Rivals share a beer together rather than a beef. They honor each others fallen members. The only knife fights are the hilariously digital ones on Reddit/MLS' “TRASH TALK THREAD” before the weekend.


From newbie to fan to fanatic D'Amico's journey isn't unique. Or at least it isn't that unique anymore. More and more often Teddy Goalsevelt's journey is becoming the standard for many. While Teddy stood out this summer he was surrounded by the like-minded passion of hundreds of other American Outlaws and thousands of fellow U.S. fans in Brazil and millions more back home. 

In June Goalsevelt told me, “The fact that this many people are sharing and tweeting and posting my stupid face just means all of those people were watching U.S. soccer.

Which is incredible. How big this has gotten… it couldn’t have happened if there wasn’t a critical mass of eyeballs on the match. So the fact that so many people were watching the ability to turn my dumb face with this hat, glasses, and mustache into a viral hit is fantastic.

Not for me, but for the game.”

Even as the memories and the pain of Brazil 2014 fades the excitement for soccer in American has not. This year's MLS Cup saw a 91% jump on ESPN from last year, 83% increase on WatchESPN, and nearly doubles on Spanish-broadcast channels. It was the third highest MLS Cup TV ratings since the beginning of the league

And it doesn't have to stop there. What Goalsevelt and all of the fans that burst onto the scene this summer need to do is keep up the momentum. 

We're lucky that 2015 has plenty of opportunities to continue the soccer explosion on the American sporting scene from 2014. The 20th season of MLS, the Women's World Cup in Canada, and the men's Gold Cup (with a spot in the 2017 Confederations Cup up for grabs) are all on the docket. 

In 2014 there was “Teddy Goalsevelt”, but in 2015 we can all be our own version of the 26th Presidential super fan: involved, passionate, and spreading good cheer. Maybe even with a beer.

American soccer needs you.

Tags: FBM In Action, USMNT, Who We’re Buying A Beer For, World Cup

2014 FBM Holiday Gift Guide

The holiday season is upon us once again. Time to craft your lists for friends and family and make some polite suggestions so that you don't unwrap ties and underwear from your auntie.

Per usual we've divided our list into, you guessed it, beer, soccer…. and the combination of the two (pssssttttt… buy our stuff).



We'd first like to draw your attention to two of the finest purveyours of soccer clothing in the country. You can't go wrong with outfitting yourself in any of these threads.

Live Breathe Futbol Clothing

“Bumpy Pitch” Clothing

(Photo Credit: Sean Reid)

Love Thy Soccer by Sean Reid 

“Love Thy Soccer” is a unique work that provides an all-embracing view of American soccer from the perspective of its fans. Collected from five years of research, hundreds of interviews, and travel throughout the country, Reid presents a rich tapestry of the game woven through the stories of many who have spent their lives dedicated to the sport and its growth in the United States, from journalists, experts, and historians to the game’s professionals and the supporters who cheer them on.

“Love Thy Soccer” is the most comprehensive work on American soccer to date. Reid discusses every aspect of the game at its various levels, its impacts on the fans, and its awesome future.”

(Photo Credit: New York Red Bulls)

Club Soccer 101 by Luke Dempsey

“Club Soccer 101 is the essential guide to 101 of the most storied soccer clubs in the world. The book covers the history of European powerhouses like Arsenal, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, and Real Madrid; historic South American clubs like Boca Juniors, Corinthians, Penarol, and Santos; and rising clubs from Africa, Asia, and America, including such leading MLS clubs as LA Galaxy, New York Red Bulls, and Seattle Sounders. Writing with the passion and panache of a deeply knowledgeable and opinionated fan, Luke Dempsey explains what makes each club distinctive: their origins, fans, and style of play; their greatest (and most heartbreaking) seasons and historic victories and defeats; and their most famous players—from Pelé, Eusébio, and Maradona to Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney, and Ronaldo.

With club soccer exploding in popularity, Club Soccer 101 provides everything any fan needs to know.”

Season Tickets for your local soccer team (Google 'em)

Whether it's MLS, NASL, USL PRO (that's us!) or otherwise… now's the time to make your commitment to supporting your local team in 2015. Why not buy two and bring a newbie each week!?!?


Synek Draft Beer System

Craft, draft beer in the comfort of your home. Need we say anymore? Fill your favorite beer in the Synek bag (straight from the brewery or your local fill bar) and enjoy quality beer for much longer that a growler can save it. Buuurrrp!

Society of Beer Travelers

Love beer? Love to travel? Then The Roaming Pint's Society of Beer Travelers is for you. Log your breweries and beers while you're on the road.

Spiegelau Tasting Kit Craft Beer Glass Kit

Your beer comes in all sorts of flavors so shouldn't your beer accomdate them? Sure you've accumilated all sorts of shaker (yes that's what they're called) pint glasses that your significant other stuffed in her purse for you, but it's time to drink beer like a grown up.. in proper glassware. 


Beer Belt

Unless, of course, you're not all grown up yet. Then the “beer belt” is just for you. This says, “I'm a drinker, not a fighter”. Who needs a black belt when you have a beer belt?

Imagine how awesome it would be to distribute some delicious craft cans like a Mountain Dew adverstisement from this belt. 

Oh… and it can also be personalized. FTW.

(Photo Credit:

“We Make Beer” by Sean Lewis

“An eye-opening journey into craft beer–making in America, and what you can find in the quest to brew the perfect pint

Sean Lewis was living in Boston when he first set foot inside the Blue Hills Brewery.  He was writing for BeerAdvocate magazine about America's craft brewers, and the then-fledgling Blue Hills was his first assignment.  Lewis was immediately struck by the spirit of the brewers he met there.  That visit would lead him first to an intensive study of beer-brewing, and later to a nation-spanning journey into the heart—and the art—of American beer making.

What Lewis found along the way was a group of like-minded craftsmen—creators who weren't afraid to speak their minds, who saw their competitors as cherished friends.  A group who takes sheer joy in their work, and who seeks the same kind of balance in their lives as they do in the barrels they brew.  He shared pints with pioneering upstarts like Paul and Kim Kavulak of Nebraska Brewing Company, and talked shop with craft beer stalwarts like Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada and bombastic innovators like Greg Koch (the “Arrogant Bastard” behind Stone Brewing Co.). He found, in them and others, a community that put its soul into its work, who sees beer-making as an extension of themselves.

We Make Beer is not just a celebration of American brewing, but of the spirit that binds brewers together.  It's about what you can discover in yourself when you put your hands and your heart into crafting the perfect pint.”

“Locally Brewed” by Anna Blessing

“Locally Brewed celebrates the Midwest's craft brewing movement with profiles of 20 of the area's brewmasters and their breweries. These are entertaining and inspiring stories of the individuals who have been essential in the exponential growth of this movement, as told through vivid interviews, beautiful photography, and dynamic artwork.

In just the past 20 years, beer has been transformed from a “low-class” drink to a pluralistic, populist drink with the same stylistic diversity and caring craftsmanship as wine. One of the strongest hotbeds of this cultural shift is in the Midwest, where independently owned craft brewers focus on the creative, artisanal elements of the beer-making process. Locally Brewed explores these trends and the fun, fascinating, and unique details of each brewery, including label art, hand-pull designs, and of course the brews themselves.

This is a book that can be enjoyed by the “beer geek” and the casual imbiber alike, as it emphasizes the people behind the beer as well as the beers they brew. Special sidebars and pullouts show what makes each brewery special, weaving together the story of the indie beer movement, relevant to both small-town Midwesterners and big-city beer lovers.”

“Tasting Beer” by Randy Mosher

“For everyone who has known the pleasure of a pint, Randy Mosher explores and explains the tasting experience, guiding readers to a better understanding of how every batch of beer is affected by recipe formulation, brewhouse procedures, yeasts, fermentations, carbonation, filtration, packaging, and much more. Readers will learn to identify the scents, colors, flavors, and mouth-feel of all the major beer styles. There are also chapters on proper serving and storage conditions, and classic beer and food pairings. Finally, the book includes a style-by-style compendium of the different brews within major beer families, including American craft brews, British lagers, German ales, and Belgian Dubbels. For each style, Mosher includes historical and regional facts, taste and aroma characteristics, seasonal availability, food pairings, and a few terrific recommendations for readers to sample.”

Anything beer-related from Pop Chart Lab… their designs are top notch. 

Soccer AND Beer:

NEW FBM T-shirt from Who Are Ya? Designs 

FBM Scarf

Tags: DrinkWear

Fourth Annual FREE BEER Night in Minneapolis

Stegman's Old Boys FC is at it again! On Saturday, September 6th, the Handsomest Soccer Club in the world will be hosting their biggest event of the year, the fourth annual “Free Beer Night”.

Part of the club's mission of becoming a “proper” club means becoming a part of the community and over the past three years the best way we've found to accomplish this is by playing a match in front of people (always better when there are fans) and raise awareness for soccer-related charities. Over the past three years they've raised in excess of $1500 for charity and they expect a sizable haul again this year with all fundraising efforts going towards The Sanneh Foundation; a charitable foundation started by former USMNT and World Cup 2002 legend, Tony Sanneh. For this year's free beer exhibition match the SOBs will face off against a Minnesota Select XI featuring none other than Sanneh himself.

Summit Brewing Company, the state's oldest and largest purveyor of fine craft brews began taking notice of the club and decided to donate the beer and videographer for last year's event. The success of this partnership turned into a sponsorship of the club leading to the Summit brand gracing the SOB Away kit and a great working relationship that sees SOBs work alongside the Summiteers in philanthropic events both inside and outside the brewery walls. The Free Beer Night event caps off a summer that saw Summit and the SOBs host Free Beer World Cup viewing parties at The Local in addition to a 3v3 cage match in the brewery's backyard.

Aside from the excitement of free soccer and free beer, this year's charity raffle and silent auction will see some truly delicious items up for grabs including: a signed USMNT jersey by honorary SOB Jay Demerit, a sweaty hug from club captain Jon Bisswurm, SOB care packages, Free Beer Movement swag, and other great prizes.

After all is said and done the club and its many fans will head on over to the MN United – Tampa Bay Rowdies match because it wouldn't be a 'Free Beer Movement in action' event without getting more fans out to watch our local professional side. A team who won the spring season and currently sit atop the fall standings as well.

In case you missed it last year's event was bigger and better than previous ones and this one promises to be even better.

Stegman's Old Boys FC, their three teams and 70+ members, are the architects of American soccer and they, too, are doing it one beer at a time.

Tags: FBM In Action

The Tuesday Ten: MLS Goes to Hollywood

By Eric Betts / Senior List Making Correspondent

Like Hollywood executives and soccer front offices everywhere, we're firm believers here that you can never have too much of a good thing. So after the runaway success of the ingenious Mike Magee's Day Off last week, here are ten other movie classics KickTV should look into putting their own spin on.

1. The Wizards of Oz: There's no place like home for this Kansas-based cast. FCKC Rookie of the Year winner Erika Tymrak stars as Dorothy alongside SKC's Matt Besler (Scarecrow), Aurelien Collin (Tin Man) and Graham Zusi (Cowardly Lion). The Original Wizard, Preki, returns to plays the big man himself, while CJ Sapong and Benny Feilhaber fill in as the Good and Wicked witches.

2. The Philadelphia Story: Why bother with Rocky when you can have Amobi Okugo, Zac MacMath and Brian Carroll competing for the affections of lovely team owner Kelley O'Hara? No, you really want Rocky? Fine. Local-ish boy (Andrew Wenger) trained by ancient bruiser (Conor Casey) to fight charismatic champion (Dom Dwyer). Done.

3. The Sandlot: Since it was filmed on location in Salt Lake City, this one's easy:

Smalls – Luis GIl
Benny – Nick Rimando
Ya-Ya – Javier Morales
Ham – Nat Borchers
Squints – Sebastian Velasquez
Kenny – Ned Grabavoy
Timmy – Joao Plata
Tommy – Alvaro Saborio
Bertram – Devon Sandoval
The Beast – Kyle Beckerman
James Earl Jones – Chris Schuler

4. Clerks: Everyone's favorite New Jersey team stars in this quintessential New Jersey film. Tim Cahill and Dax McCarty play futsal on the roof as Dante and Randal, while Bradley Wright-Phillips and Thierry Henry costar as Jay and Silent Bob.

5. Fargo: North Dakota/Minnesota are basically America's Canada anyway, so our friends from the Great White North take the lead on this one. Christine Sinclair as Marge Gunderson. Jay DeMerit gets to play with his Upper Midwest inflections as Jerry Lundegaard, with Steve Nash filling in capably as overbearing father-in-law Wade Gustafson. Michael Bradley and Marco Di Vaio fit perfectly into the Peter Stromare and Steve Buscemi parts, eh?

6. Pulp Fiction: This L.A. classic gets a mostly L.A. cast: Robbie Rogers as Vincent; Gyasi Zardes as Jules, Carlos Bocanegra as Butch, Mauro Rosales as Lance, and the back of Bruce Arena's head as Marcellus Wallace, you know, during his tamer scenes. Omar rides his strong performance in the Magee video to a spot as the Wolf, where his skill at arriving at the last minute to put out fires comes in handy. Sprinkle in Kekuta Manneh as Marvin (sorry Kekuta) and Megan Rapinoe as Mia Wallace, and you're in for another classic. What do they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Leeds, Vincent?

7. The Rock: Experienced veteran stuck in a bad situation (Chris Wondolowski) helps unexperienced younger man (Tommy Thompson) break into heavily fortified Bay Area compound guarded by team of highly trained killers (Alan Gordon, Steven Lenhart, uhh, Clarence Goodson) and their leader (Victor Bernardez). Gratuitous late fireworks for everyone!

8. Dazed and Confused: Austin doesn't have an MLS team, so the Texas teams come together for this bit of Linklater genius. Young Kellyn Acosta spends much of the movie fleeing from Ben Affleck-impersonating bully Tally Hall. Matt Hedges gets top billing as Randall “Pink” Floyd, but we all know the real star is Brad Davis, who gets to feel the wind in his (fake) hair again as Wooderson, all right?

9. Boondock Saints: Lot of options for Boston, but who wants to see Kelyn Rowe as Will Hunting when you can have Andrew Farrell and Diego Fagundez in black trenchcoats terminating mobsters with extreme prejudice?

10. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Alex Morgan sheds her America's Sweetheart image with a chilling turn as Nurse Ratched. Liam Ridgewell as the edgy outsider who shakes things up in the ward by reenacting a World Cup game the inmates are forbidden from watching. Featuring Donovan Ricketts as Chief Bromden, Diego Valeri as uptight Dale Harding, Darlington Nagbe as Charlie Cheswik, Will Johnson as the stuttering Billy Bibbit, and the Timbers Army as everyone else.

About Eric

Eric Betts is a freelancer writer who lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and his dog Lando (yup). While attending the Emory University he won “College Jeopardy”. His pop culture references end somewhere around 2002.

Tags: Eric Betts, The Other 87 Minutes, Tuesday 10/XI

VIDEO: The History and Power of “I Believe” (ESPN)

2014 FIFA World Cup – “I Believe” – ESPN from Nick Aquilino on Vimeo.

It's evolved into American soccer's most iconic chant during this World Cup, but the origins of “I Believe” are incredibly humble. 

Our founder, Dan Wiersema, had the pleasure of speaking with ESPN about the power of positivity of this chant that the U.S. soccer supporters group, the American Outlaws has made a national rallyng cry. 

This originally aired on Monday, June 30th on “World Cup Tonight” and was also featured on SportsCenter.

Tags: American Outlaws, Supporters Groups, USMNT, Video, World Cup

An American in Brazil: Meet Teddy Goalsevelt

Teddy conquering the Amazon in Manaus. 

Mild-mannered Chicago advertising man by day. Legendary former American President Teddy Roosevelt by game day.

Meet Mike D’Amico.

Since his first appearance with Jimmy Conrad and KICK TV post-Natal and then in millions of home around the world during the broadcast celebrating during the USMNT-Portugal match D’Amico is currently the “face of American soccer”.

What started out as just a silly idea to enjoy his time as a fan supporting the national team in Brazil has grown into a viral journey few, especially D’Amico, could imagine.

Below is the story, in his own words, of how one man took Brazil by storm and channeled his inner 26th President, Teddy Goalsevelt.


The first part is the boring and lame part. Since October I had been letting my beard grow. I had a beard that maybe came down to my chest. It was a massive beard. I knew that I was going to want that beard. It’s like a face scarf. It’s too hot for that.

That was so much work. Like nine months. There’s got to be something I can do with this. Can I dye it? Can I shave it into USA? Into a statue? Can I carve it?

I travel a lot for U.S. Soccer and I always love the guys that no matter the temperature or what the conditions are they’re always dressed up. There’s the guy in the colonial outfit; the tri-corner hat and the wig. There’s always the guy with the World War II general helmet with the pipe and the aviator sunglasses. Those guys get people psyched. It gets people excited.

If I’m going to Brazil, if I’m spending all of this money… why not try and do something like that?

So I started brainstorming. I had the facial hair thing in my head. I had Brazil on my mind.  It all of a sudden it came to me: Teddy Roosevelt.

Who better to be that than Teddy Roosevelt in Brazil, in the Amazon? The mustache and the Rough Riders.

With that much beard growth is was pretty easy to turn it into his mustache.  In fact I had to trim it a bit.

I mentioned it casually to a few people, just to test the waters and the were like, “YES!”

I started to put it together in like March or April. Looking around and piecing things together. Ironically almost the entire costume was assembled from

Tapping a rich cultural history

I was talking to a bunch of fans at the hotel before the Natal match and this was the first dabble into American soccer culture. They were looking around and there was me and General (George S.) Patton, and Duff Man, people with the face paint and the wigs. All the different kinds of people dressed up.

So a U.S. soccer match is kind of like the Super Bowl meets ComicCon.

The cool thing about being an U.S. soccer fan is the breadth of culture that we have access to that can immediately represent America. Some other countries don’t have that.

There are so many cultural things. There’s so much history.

Teddy Roosevelt is like you took American culture, rung it out, and made a cartoon character of it. Like he’s not real. This is a guy who born and raised in New York, he was a cowboy, a Rough Rider, a politician, a President, and all of the expeditions. The story of this man is almost fictional.

I think that’s part of the reason everyone loves the costume so much.  There are lots of President that could claim to be the “most American President”, but I think you’d have a hard time making a better case  than you can for Teddy Roosevelt.

An Unexpected Reception

I thought I was just going to be another guy. “Ohh… look it’s a super hero that’s cool. Ohh… look it’s George Washington. Ohh… look it’s Teddy Roosevelt.”

But it’s been like, “Superhero. George Washington. TEDDY ROOSEVELT!”

Then there’s like a line to take photos and people want to sign songs. It’s just been over-the-top craziness since day one.

I had absolutely no idea that is had gotten so big back home. Buzzfeed. I was on the homepage of They were talking about intense fans of the World Cup and that’s not something that’s been apart of our vernacular.

Will Teddy ride again after the World Cup?

That is a question that I don’t feel like I get to answer. I feel like everyone else has already made that choice for me. One of the first emails, after returning from Manaus, I got was from a co-worker was, “You’re wearing that on Monday to work, right?”

All of the guys back home at American Outlaws: Chicago were like, “I don’t care what it takes you’re wearing the ‘Teddy Goalsevelt’ costume to the first game back. It doesn’t matter how many free beers it takes… you’re doing it.”

I think Teddy will live on. I think he has to.


The fact that this many people are sharing and tweeting and posting my stupid face just means all of those people were watching U.S. soccer.

Which is incredible. How big this has gotten… it couldn’t have happened if there wasn’t a critical mass of eyeballs on the match. So the fact that so many people were watching the ability to turn my dumb face with this hat, glasses, and mustache into a viral hit is fantastic.

Not for me, but for the game.

Tags: American Outlaws, Major League Soccer, USMNT, World Cup

An American in Brazil: Rainy day in Recife

I had only been asleep for about 30 minutes when the alarm went off at 12:45am. My head wouldn’t meet a pillow for another 24 hours. I can tell you at the beginning of this story it would be all worth it.

When it comes to getting enough rest it’s never been something I’ve been particularly good at. I actually tend to thrive in low-sleep situations.

Which is good because this day is going to be one of those types of days.

By 2am we’re on the road to Recife from Natal; twelve busloads of American Outlaws including a spare bus just in case one breaks down. The rain is falling steadily. We’re anticipating a wet day, but certainly not the conditions we’ll push through in about five hours.

The thirteen buses are cruising down BR-101 courtesy of a Federal Police escort between the two World Cup host cities. Our bus “tour guide” cracks a joke about the Brazilian highway system saying that if the same people that were charge of paving these roads had built the Great Wall of China they’d still be at it today.

As dawn breaks it’s become increasingly obvious that this isn’t just a steady, tropical rain but full-on flood conditions. As we transition from rural Brazil to urban Recife the roads turn to rivers. Our bus caravan plunges, literally, on. I swear there would come a point where, like in Oregon Trail, we’d have to make a decision of whether or not to caulk our wagon and ford our way to the stadium.

Arena Pernambuco is located outside of the city proper and thankfully somewhat distant from what would later be reported as nearly thigh-high water in Recife. The exterior the pre-game party hosted by the American Outlaws is flanked by two ridiculous large inflatables on the outside, one of the World Cup mascot and the other, for some reason, a goat. On the inside both Good Morning America and the TODAY Show have staked out the entrance and frantic producers are fighting to grab the most unique dressed and loudest American fans for backdrops to their live-on-location reports.

Given our personal struggles to make it to the previous two matches on time this is the first pre-game party that myself and my traveling companions have made it to. We’re not disappointed.

The never-ending rain has added a special extra element to the festivities, forcing everyone into closer quarters since the risk of drowning outside it quite real. The sound of every chant of “USA” or “I Believe” sounds that much louder and feels that much more intense.

Teddy Goalesvelt and I at the AO tailgate. 

I haven’t tailgated this early since college and thinking about the time and space in those ten years is a brief and slightly depressing thought that is pushed out of my head as quickly as the next beer is pushed into my hand.

By the time we begin to march to the stadium everyone’s red, white, and blue is tinted by a translucent poncho or a new, darker shade compliments of the pouring rain. The perpetual showers don’t dampen the enthusiasm of the Outlaws on their trek to the stadium; many stopping occassionally to match the quantity of liquids going inside their bodies to that of the flow of rainwater cascading off them.

To be honest Pernambuco is the least impressive of the three World Cup venues the U.S. plays in. It’s boxy and impersonal. It doesn’t look like sand dunes or a woven basket. Perhaps it’s the drenched, grey sky or it’s missing the mystique of being in the middle of the rainforest or I didn’t just “Amazing Race” to this one.

Inside and situated back far enough to be under the arena’s protective cover the crowd’s energy has a much different feel to it that the other two matches. Ghana was outright intense; America and her fans making their boisterous debut on the World Cup stage. Portugal’s crowd was confident, surging until silenced in the last seconds. The chants and cheers are the same as their preceding games, but the spaces between each are more distant, spaced out by fans rubbernecking to the few people with working data plans keeping sections updated on the action in Brasília.

On the field the U.S. has shown well. Thomas Müller’s goal, the lone tally wasn’t the result of some disastrous defense just a well-taken shot. The USMNT is giving Germany a game. Alejandro Bedoya’s cleared shot, reminiscent of Michael Bradley’s in the previous game, jolts the crowd who collectively remove their fingers from their nail-nibbling mouths to give some last-minute encouragement.

As the final whistle blows there’s about two minutes where we waited on our compatriots with the cell phones to give us a final Ghana-Portugal update. The U.S. players and coaching staff clearly have better service in the stadium than we do. They’re celebrations trigger ours as devices confirm what we’re witness in front of us.

We’ve gone through.

There’s a peculiar thing about the World Cup to celebrate advancing to the knockout rounds when you’ve just lost a game. It’s a tough feeling to reconcile. For me I haven’t seen the national team lose a game in over a dozen games over the past two years (all home games) so I’m standing there thinking about that. But then the result is insignificant because you’re through and it’s the elimination games that we have to prepare for.

Again I think the weather, the depressing drizzle, has affected my thinking because I’m focused more about the loss than moving forward. Ultimate my head will clear over the next five hours on the bus and by the time we return to Natal I’m fully over the day’s loss and eager to began our next World Cup challenge.

While the team and large chunk of American supporters will proceed onto Salvador I, unfortunately, will return to a bar stool in Austin, Texas. Several thorough loads of laundry between today and Tuesday will return my sun/sweat/rain-soaked jerseys to their former glory.

Travelling to Brazil with American Outlaws feels a lot summer camp. At the Houston airport where we’ve all landed, before departing to our own corners of the country, new friends exchange contact information and promises of dinner, drinks, and a couch or bed to sleep on if they should ever pass through each other’s city. Old friends, veterans of this soccer supporter dance of hello-game-goodbye, shake hands and hug until next time.

My journey to the World Cup, as an American in Brazil, was one amazing adventure; filled with more twists and turns that I ever could’ve imagined. It was both one of the most stressful and wonderful experience of my entire time and I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything.

Until next time.

Tags: American Outlaws, Major League Soccer, USMNT, World Cup

An American in Brazil: Thousands of MLS supporters come together for USMNT

NOTE: This article originally appeared on

RECIFE, Brazil — They’ve come from all over the country clad in red, white, and blue. But they have other colors with them. 

The burgundy of the Colorado Rapids. The rave green of the Seattle Sounders. The red of Toronto FC. And so on. All the colors of Major League Soccer teams are here in full force.

For them, this trip to Brazil is about club and country.

Finding an MLS jersey inside the stadiums of Natal, Manaus, and Recife isn't easy. But on non-game days, they are everywhere. Fans are eager to rep their local side: Sporting KC t-shirts in the hotel lobby, New York Red Bulls jerseys at a Brazil watch party, a LA Galaxy cap for protection from the Brazilian sun, or a pair of Portland Timbers shorts for lounging poolside.

A few years after the Dynamo arrived in Texas and Houston native Rick Worley returned to his hometown from Washington D.C., he picked up season tickets as both a matter of civic pride and the natural evolution for his passion for soccer

“I definitely grew up loving the U.S. national team. I can’t imagine anything better than the U.S. winning a World Cup,” said Worley. “But BBVA Stadium is amazing and such a great atmosphere. The city has really embraced this team.”

Jake Beard, a director of the Iron Lion Firm, an Orlando City Soccer Club supporters group, echoed a similar sentiment.

“I think it’s different for everybody. Some take club over country. For me I was a fan of the national team before I ever had a club to root for,” he said. “So for me I’ll always be here to support the U.S. It’s been a two year journey to be here now and all the obstacles along the way. It’s been a dream come true to go to the matches.”

With the World Cup in full swing the club rivalries take a back seat to supporting the national team.

“No matter what we’re here for the team,” said Peg Manning, a Seattle Sounders season ticket holder since their MLS debut. “The players become our own even if they play for other teams.”

“Our joke all this year has been 'It's not June yet',” Manning’s husband, Tim Blanchard, interjected with a laugh.

“Now it’s June: Go Kyle (Beckerman)!” Manning added.

MATCHCENTER: 7 MLS players in starting lineup against Germany
For the teams that sent MLS players to represent their country, there’s an extra special amount of pride for their fans.

“What’s not to like about that (having club players on the national team)?” Blanchard asked rhetorically.

Worley was excited to see Dynamo players past and present on the USMNT squad.

“I was really lucky for the first game against Ghana I was in the front row right behind the U.S. bench and to see when the guys stood up and started clapping the first one I was congratulating was Brad Davis. To see (former Dynamo) Geoff Cameron out there too was cool. To see those two guys out there representing the orange was pretty great.”

During the Portugal match, Manning and Blanchard were represented by not one, but two Sounders’ players on the field.

“I was screaming for DeAndre (Yedlin) so hard,” said Manning.

“It was tremendously exciting to see Dempsey and DeAndre on the field together,” added Blanchard.

MLS’ connection to Brazil gets stronger when Beard’s OCSC joins the league in 2015. The team’s majority owner Flavio Augusto da Silva is a native of Rio de Janeiro. Beard said his purple jersey has caught a few eyes down here in Brazil because of his club’s owner. And his future fellow MLS fans are quite welcoming as well.

“I’ve met so many cool people here on the trip and everyone has been so receptive of Orlando.”

Even in faraway places like Manaus MLS fans are discovering each other.

“We’re walking from the stadium back to the buses for the airport,” Blanchard recounts. “About halfway back we stopped in this crammed spot. There were just two seats in this tiny place. We asked the folks if we could sit down and started talking to them. Turns out they sit in section 109 (of CenturyLink Field) and we sit in section 209. She’s Brazilian and lives in the Seattle now.”

They exchanged information and plan on meeting up back in Seattle before a game.

“It really is such a small world,” Manning added.

Tags: American Outlaws, Major League Soccer, USMNT, World Cup

An American in Brazil: Madness in Manaus

The U.S. fan’s World Cup is defined, so far, by 30 seconds. Thirty seconds in versus Ghana Clint Dempsey send us into a frenzy onto three points. Thirty seconds left and Portugal knocks the wind out of us and we settle for a draw in Manaus.

Thus is the roller coaster ride that is the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. If you told most American fans that we’d leave the Amazon rainforest with four points I think most of us would take that in a heartbeat. But standing in the stadium at full time on Sunday night I couldn’t feel anything but cheated.


The trip itself to Manaus was another intriguing story. We finally found ourselves with a spot the charter flight, but delay after delay departing from Natal meant that we would miss the American Outlaws/U.S. Soccer pregame party.  Another straight-to-the-stadium sprint. We were getting pretty good at this.

On the plus side we were able to march, briskly, with other American fans on their way to Arena Amazonia. While it probably wasn’t as epic as what we heard about the Natal march, the experience of being surrounded by hundreds of U.S. fans in foreign country on their way to a World Cup game was incredible.

Arena Amazonia is a gorgeous stadium. Designed to look like a woven basket sold in the local markets it is a crowning achievement of architecture on par with Teatro Amazonas, Manaus’ historic opera house, built in 1896.

As the lineups were announced the largest cheer/squeal was reserved for Portugal’s Ronaldo and his first touch was met with a roar of approval I’d never heard in my life. But as the match wore on and he faded from the match (minus the his last cross, of course) the crowd turned against him, fueled by the growing confidence of the American side and the American fans.

I was situated right behind the Portugal goal the U.S. was attacking in the second half. When Jermaine Jones ripped his shot… that curve… I swear I saw a blinker on the ball it was turning so dramatically.  And Dempsey’s… err… ball into the back of net; at that point of the match anything was possible. Top the group? Sure. Win the World Cup? Why not us.

I thought the United States had the corner on late-game-drama magic, but Portugal had different ideas.

This U.S. team was dominant. Despite two defensive breakdowns at both ends of the game we were the better team on the night. I can take solace, in the long view, that standing up to the likes of Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo on this night in Manaus is a huge step in the right direction for American soccer.

Those will have to be the thoughts that carry me forward to Germany when we face our next “greatest World Cup test ever” ™.

Now there’s just one number to focus on: 90. Ninety minutes of greatness needed on Thursday and we’re through.

Tags: American Outlaws, Major League Soccer, USMNT, World Cup

An American in Brazil: Beach soccer in pictures

NOTE: This article originally appeared on

NATAL, Brazil – Having finallly arrived in Brazil and settled down it was time for some much needed relaxation. Our insane sprint to the Ghana game was in the rear-view mirror and a couple days of full of fun and sun lay ahead. 

Our host city for the first World Cup match; our triumph over the Black Stars, Natal, sits in the North-East of Brazil. Natal, meaning “Christmas” in Portugese was founded on its saint's feast day in 1599. 

The city has rapidily grown into an popular beachside destination as Brazilians look to escape from the hustle and bustle of some of the country's major metropolitian areas like Rio and Sao Paulo.

With great beaches, of course, comes great beach soccer. Cruise up and down the coastline of Natal and you're guaranteed to see game after game after game cutting across the sand.

Beach soccer, or beasal, as its called here, started in Brazil back in 1992. Wth so many people kicking about in Natal and elsewhere — not to mention the number of beaches — it's no wonder that Brazil have won the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 13 of the 15 times it's been held. 

The beauty of beach soccer, much like soccer in general, is its simplicity. Just a few warm bodies, a ball, and something — anything! — to mark off goals. 

Here are just a few sights from Natal's beach soccer scene:

1) The first thing you need is a ball.

2) And a few friends.

3) Set up a goal.

4) Any goal will do.

5) Really…. any goal will do.

6) Even if your goal is still being used for it's original purpose. 

7) Maybe just a game of keepy-uppy instead.

8) Perhaps a kick-about with a difficult defender.

9) The games can sometimes be a bit casual.

10) Or they can be as intense as the real thing (American Outlaws play against Ghanaian fans at their hotel). 

11) But with always one GOOOOOOOL in mind. 

Tags: Major League Soccer, photography, World Cup

An American in Brazil: We’re Ghana (get it?) make it to this game?

It took just 29 seconds to erase almost 48 hours of terrible traveling.

When Clint Dempsey slashed through the Ghanaian defense and buried that ball in the back of the net the stress, the madness, the lack of sleep… it was all worth it. We made it to the World Cup.


Just two hours earlier our personal 767 landed on the tarmac in Natal. The charter company, after several false starts, finally made amends. We were picked up in Georgetown, Guyana, and after a heartfelt apology from the captain on behalf of the company, we settled into the first-class seats.

Just “the AO 14,” as we called ourselves, on a plane designed to carry over 200. Weird.

We landed in Natal and sprinted through immigration and customs, opened specifically for us as we were the only international flight landing that day. Obviously the rest of the American (and Ghanaian) fans had already arrived comfortably early for the day’s game.

We piled into a small bus and took off for Arena das Dunas. Less than three hours to go before the match.

Traffic was awful, so we were biting our nails the whole way. Several times we asked the driver if we should get out and run. How far is it? Our driver insisted he continue with us, but when he got us as far as he thought possible, we all jumped out and began rushing toward the stadium. As we got closer, we noticed that we were not alone. More and more people were joining us on our walk – fans from everywhere — like a snowball rolling down a hill.

Then the stadium emerged. For the better part of the last 24 hours, it had been unknown as to whether or not we would be at the game. So I admit: I teared up.

First stop after getting our tickets scanned and entering the stadium? A nice, cold beer of course. We barely had a moment to drink in the moment (or drink our beer) when Dempsey scored.

Pandemonium. More tears. Lots of hugs. My wife, Anah, Landon (my best friend since high school), and I in euphoric embrace.

The next 80 minutes were sheer terror as the US team held on to that tentative lead. When André Ayew scored Ghana’s equalizer it was a gut punch. How could this happen? We had come so far? We had endured so much? How could Ayew do this? To us?

And when Graham Zusi lines up for that corner in the 86th minute, I closed my eyes and whispered to myself (I swear I did), “I know we, the team, don’t deserve to win, but I think WE deserve this win.”

John Brooks plowed that ball into the goal and I lost it. I just lost it. This was what it was all for. This made up for all the rebooked flights, the airport waiting lounges, Guyanese customs hall, the taxi ride from the airport, sweating through my Waldo hat. This was everything.

I don’t even remember hearing the final whistle.

Tags: American Outlaws, Major League Soccer, USMNT, World Cup

An American in Brazil: Wait! Trinidad & Guyana are NOT on the way to Natal

NATAL, Brazil – Twenty-four hours ago, I was in Georgetown, Guyana.

Trust me, I’m just as surprised as you are to be uttering those words. Don’t worry, I’ll catch you up in a moment.

Originally we – Anah; my best friend from high school, Landon, who currently lives in Los Angeles (no, not that Landon); and I – were scheduled to depart Saturday evening on “AO Force 2”: the second of the two American Outlaws charter planes. “AO Force One” had left the night before bound for Natal and without any hiccups we were to follow right after.

Until we were informed that the original “AO Force Two” was experiencing “mechanical troubles” and was going to be grounded in Houston. The point of charter planes, of course, is to avoid headaches, but ever since the package was announced nearly two years ago, headaches is all that AO leaders Korey Donahoo and Justin Brunken (full disclosure: two very good friends of mine) had experienced.

Rather than a wake-up call from the front desk of our Houston hotel, my phone was blowing up with texts from Donahoo and Brunken with this unexpected turn of events.

“No worries,” the charter company assured us. “Another plane is on its way. You’ll all make it to Natal on time. Oh. Except for one thing … the new plane is a little smaller. You’ll have to find about 15 people to step off the plane and we’ll find a way to get you to Natal later.”

In other words, AO needed 15 volunteers who were willing to take a chance on a different itinerary.

Of course, there was still the chance that the original itinerary, the new, smaller “AO Force Two,” wouldn't hold. But it did. Without any further hitches the second plane took off.

I know because I watched it go.

Yes, Anah and I were one of the 14 that stayed behind. Actually, stepping off the plane to help AO was a no-brainer for us. Donahoo, Brunken & Co. have not only worked tirelessly to make American Outlaws the largest US supporters group, but also are friends. If sidetracking one’s own dream to get to the World Cup wasn’t apart of being friends then what was the point of friendship anyways?

I don’t think most people on “AO Force Two” even knew there were 14 people that stayed behind in Houston. (One of the needed 15 was able to get on the plane when a package member missed his connecting flight and made his own arrangements to get to Brazil.) But there we were: my wife, me, Landon from LA, Brunken and his wife, Tyler from Spearville, Meggie from Lincoln, Chris from Kansas City, Jimmy from Pittsburgh, Robert and Cody from New Jersey, Erin and Ashley from Indianapolis, and a representative from the travel company.

To pass the time in Houston and distract ourselves from the mounting list of unknowns, “the AO 14” – every good adventure needs a good nickname – coined a game called “AOmazing Race.” We’re on Twitter at @AOmazingRace, with the objective of awarding made up points for the journey ahead.

Meanwhile, the charter company was scrambling. The first info we got was that the trip to Natal was going to require some zigzagging: Houston to Miami to Trinidad to Guyana, and finally to Natal. At least that was the first plan.

The schedule would put us in Guyana – yes, the land of Jim Jones – less than 24 hours before the Ghana match. This was cutting it close, but it seemed like enough time. Oh, but wait: Turns out there is no flight service from Georgetown to Natal. So, it turns out, the president of the charter company was going to have his personal plane pick us up in Guyana and whisk us to Natal.

Whoa. Full-on damage control.

But then, we learned about plan B. It was a simplified itinerary. Miami and Guyana were out. Now we would fly from Houston to Trinidad, where the private jet – our winged chariot – would meet us for the final leg of the journey. This itinerary had us arriving just 12 hours before the AO pregame tailgate. It all sounded too good to be true.

Which, of course, it was.

We landed in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, with visions of luxury travel in our heads. How stocked will the private jet's mini-bar be? Can we start a dance party?

I made it through immigration before the rest of the group and went ahead to secure our bags. Then I waited. And waited. No one else showed up. I doubled back only to be confronted by an immigration officer.

“You need to give up your passport,” she informed me. “You don’t have a flight here yet.”

Turns out there was no private jet. It couldn’t get clearance to land in Trinidad. Or perhaps there never was a plane. Either way, the AO 14 were now in the Trinidad airport without our passports

Immigrations officials held onto our passports while Robi, our travel representative, called her bosses to get us off the island and to Brazil. Guyana was back on the flight plan.

Once again, there were assurances that a plane would be waiting for us. We didn't feel very confident.

After we landed and breezed through Guyanese customs, our fears were confirmed: no plane.

By now it was one in the morning and we we had no idea if we were going to ever reach Brazil, let alone fulfill the destiny of this trip: Seeing the US national team play in the World Cup. The game against Ghana in Natal was set to kick off in about 16 hours, and we were stuck in an airport in a tiny country on the South American coast. Was this trip ever going to end? And how was it going to end?

At 5, we had an answer. Salvation came from an unlikely source that brought everything full circle. “AO Force One,” the charter jet that took the first group of Outlaws to Natal, was on its way to Guyana. It would arrive by 9, and an hour later we would be en route to Brazil.

If everything worked out – and why wouldn’t it? – we would be in Natal and in the stands by kickoff…

Tags: American Outlaws, Major League Soccer, USMNT

An American in Brazil: The USMNT’s patriotic packing guide to Brazil

Editor's Note: This column originally appeared on

“If it's not red, white, or blue… it's not going in the suitcase.”

Meet my wife everybody.

Anah held herself pretty accountable to that rule while I strayed just a little bit after some of my shorts were not of the American flag variety. Note I said “some”; there ARE several pairs of American flag shorts in my luggage.

Packing to watch the World Cup in Brazil for two weeks was a lot easier than I expected. I’ve done long trips abroad before where packing for all the possible weather permutations and every other thing but the kitchen sink was the bare minimum. But this wasn’t preparing for a week in the Canadian wilderness or living in one of the most dangerous countries on earth (Honduras, if you were wondering).

This was for beach life. Natal, for two weeks, with a day’s excursion to Manaus and Recife sprinkled in. To follow our national team, Anah’s patriotic declaration was proving to be pretty on point and leaving loads more room in our luggage that we first thought.

When traveling to a tropical country like Brazil there were two considerations we kept front and center in our mind: sun and rain. So we have plenty of items to deal with them, like USA sunscreen, USA toothpaste, USA toothbrush, USA bug spray, USA malaria pills…

You seeing a trend here?

Well, here are a few more musts for traveling to the World Cup:

1) Waldo hat. The national team may have adopted the world wanderer’s look as a shirt in 2012, but I’ve been repping my doppelganger since college. If you’re wondering, yes, it is hot, very hot, and yes, I will wear it to the games. So if you see it during some fan cutaway on ESPN, you'll know it's me.

2) Multiple US jerseys. Because being an American soccer fan has no off-days.

3) American Outlaws gear. I’ve been a member since 2008, the year after they were founded, and their shirts are some of the best gear, design and comfort-wise to wear when I’m not pulling a jersey over my Waldo hat. In case your wondering, yes, I put the hat on first.

4) Assorted other soccer shirts. Because why would I wear anything other than soccer shirts? Some of my favorite soccer brands include adidas, Live Breathe Futbol and Bumpy Pitch.

5) Patriotic bottoms. Very important. I’ll be rocking the “bomb pop” and American-flag-themed shorts. Because red, white, and blue shouldn’t be reserved for just your top half.

6) Reading material:

– Howler’s latest issue is the single most amazing and comprehensive World Cup preview I’ve seen; plus beautifully designed and well-written.
– Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s auto-biography. Somehow this player needs to make it to Brazil even if it’s just in book form.
– The 10 Shirt: How the United States National Soccer Team (might have) Won the 1982 World Cup. Hey, a boy can dream.
– Party Brasil Phrasebook. Apparently there are all sorts of helpful phrases in Portuguese about the ref’s mother and/or how he’s a thief. Given the calls already in this World Cup — except by the American! — this book might be the most useful. And how to order multiple beers. Indispensible.
– Instant City, a new book about Karachi, Pakistan, by National Public Radio’s Steve Inskeep. No, I’m not kidding. This is the book I’m actually looking forward to the most. What can I say: I'm a history teacher.

There you have it. The American fan’s super patriotic packing guide.

There’s a passport, visa, and tickets squished somewhere in there, too. I’ll find them before take off.

Tags: American Outlaws, Major League Soccer, USMNT, World Cup

An American in Brazil: Allow Myself to Introduce Myself

Editor's Note: FBM's founder, Dan Wiersema, is traveling to Brazil as a part of the American Outlaws travel package along with his wife, Anah, and best friend and soccer teammate from high school, Landon. Along the may he'll be documenting the American soccer's fan experience in Brazil on His travelogue will be posted here as well. 


My name is Dan Wiersema and I am an American soccer fan.

That statement is not some quiet confession or a shameful admission to others sitting around in a circle in a community center basement. I say it proudly. Because I believe it should be shouted from the rooftops and declared unconditionally for the rest of the world to hear.

Or perhaps typed on a keyboard for publishing on a website. Which is why I'm here. Over the next two weeks (and, fingers crossed, maybe more), I will document the American fan's experience in Brazil, from Natal to Manaus to Recife, from the bars to the beaches to the back row of a raucous bus.

Who am I?

I am the founder of the Free Beer Movement, a grassroots organization dedicated to “Building American Soccer One Beer at a Time.” Since 2009 the FBM has used the power of the pint to convince newbies that soccer, as Men In Blazers describe it, is the “sport of the future.” Have a friend, family member, or co-worker that doesn’t know much about the sport? Buy ‘em a beer and educate them. Beer is the medium… soccer is the message.

I’ve been a fan of Major League Soccer since I pasted a USA Today ad with Lalas, Harkes, Balboa, Wynalda, and Co. on my bedroom closet door to support them as they launched the league back in 1996. I suffered through the 1998 World Cup in Europe defending the Yanks despite their disastrous finish. My faith was restored during the USWNT’s World Cup victory in 1999 and celebrated in euphoric silence at 3 a.m. from my best friend’s parent’s basement as we shocked Portugal in 2002. From Germany to South Africa, Kansas City to Salt Lake City, I’ve seen this sport grow to unbelievable heights.

So, yeah, I’m a pretty big fan. Or supporter or enthusiast or whatever semantical rules you play by. Certainly there are bigger fans than I am, and smaller ones, but who cares. Regardless of the level of fandom, we’re all fans of the same country and the same team.

Right now, I’m sitting between two dogs on a couch in Texas. But tomorrow, I’ll be sitting between two palm trees. Or maybe two beach chairs. Or two Caipirinhas. Or all of the above.

I'll be one of thousands wearing red, white, and blue, chanting “I believe that we will win,” and representing our nation as a member of the American Outlaws, the vibrant US national team supporter group. We all have our stories, some of which I will tell as our journey goes, some of which are yet to be written.

My name is Dan Wiersema and I am an American soccer fan.

Tags: American Outlaws, Major League Soccer, USMNT, World Cup

NEWS – Free Beer Movement and Freetail Brewing Company Announce World Cup Collaboration Beer

A World Cup beer year deserves a World Cup beer. We're pleased to announce an exciting collaboration between Free Beer Movement and San Antonio's Freetail Brewing Company to produce a brew worthy of the competition going down in Brazil.

Introducing “We Are Going To Braz-ale” a Super Patriotic Red Ale.

“Braz-ale” will be a hoppy red ale similar to Green Flash Brewing Company's “Hop Head” Red. The SPRA is being brewed at Freetail's brewpub location in mid-May to be on tap there during the United States run to World Cup winning glory in June and July. 

While the beer will be restricted to taps at Freetail we're happy to announce a limited edition World Cup t-shirt is also available from FBM and Freetail featuring the label art of “Braz-ale” (order now). Screen printed on American Apparel 50/50 blend shirts we think that it will quickly become a go to favorite from your drawer during the Cup and beyond. 

Scott Metzger, owner of Freetail Brewing Co. and a board member of the Texas Craft Brewers Guide (who was instrumental in helping open Texas' beer laws in 2013) is a huge soccer fan and long-time friend of the Movement. 

His brewpub in San Antonio is the perfect example of how well soccer and beer can pair. Soccer scarves hover above the brewery's big screen projector screen, often showcasing the world's game. 

If you're in Central Texas during World Cup time you owe it to yourselve to check out Freetail Brewing Co., watch some soccer, and have a pint (or two or three) of FBM and Freetail's “We Are Going To Brazil” Super Patriotic Red Ale. 

Tags: Beer, brewery, DrinkWear, News, The Best of Both Worlds

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