Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Fans roll out green turf for U.S. men's soccer

Soccer fans looking to bring the World Cup to Tampa will test their might next week when the U.S. men's team plays El Salvador in an exhibition match.

Members of the American Outlaws, a cheering group for the national soccer team, are drumming up support to fill Raymond James Stadium with fans loyal to the red, white and blue.

"I hope the crowd turns out,'' said Mike Fera, head of the newly formed American Outlaws Tampa chapter. "That would really help us'' get the Cup.

Wednesday's match, known as a friendly because it doesn't count in the standings, is one of the last games before the U.S. team goes to the World Cup in South Africa in June. El Salvador didn't qualify for the Cup but has a strong local fan base of people from South and Central America.

"This game is a big deal for them,'' Fera said. "This is their chance to make us look silly.''

American Outlaws from around the country are coming to Tampa to watch the game, the U.S. men's first international match here since 2007, when a crowd of 31,547 turned out to watch Landon Donovan and company defeat Ecuador 3-1. MacDinton's, the group's home viewing bar, is hosting pre-game parties Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon. Buses will shuttle fans to the tailgating party at the stadium.

The American Outlaws was founded in 2007 in Nebraska to unify U.S. fans, which are often outnumbered by fans of opposing teams.

"It's sad to see a game on American soil not dominated by U.S. fans,'' said Fera, 25, who grew up playing soccer. "That's what we're out to change.''

A big turnout would show U.S. Soccer officials that Tampa has enough grassroots support to host the World Cup, the most widely viewed sporting event in the world.

"A lot of people don't think it's a big sport in the United States, but if you go anywhere else in the world, it's a huge deal,'' said American Outlaws member David Ulch, 25, of Tampa. "You have to start small, but once you get more and more people into it, it will turn into tradition.''

Gradually, Tampa is becoming more of a soccer town, he said. Last month, Tampa was named one of 18 cities that will be included in the United States' bid to host the 2018 or 2022 Cup. In May, professional soccer returns to Tampa when the Tampa Bay Rowdies start playing at Steinbrenner Field.

USA vs. El Salvador

The U.S. men's soccer team plays El Salvador in a friendly Wednesday at Raymond James Stadium. Tickets are $18-$150 through or Ticketmaster outlets. The American Outlaws host pre-game parties on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and Wednesday at 1 p.m. at MacDinton's, 405 S Howard Ave., Tampa.

Fans roll out green turf for U.S. men's soccer 02/18/10 [Last modified: Thursday, February 18, 2010 5:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. USF tight end Palmore faces charge of credit card fraud


    A University of South Florida football player faces charges of fraudulent use of a credit card and petit theft following his arrest by Temple Terrace police on Monday.

    USF senior tight end Adrian Palmore faces charges of fraudulent use of a credit card and petit theft after his arrest by Temple Terrace police on June 19, 2017. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  2. Rowdies defender gets the call to represent Jamaica


    ST. PETERSBURG —- Damion Lowe has loved his first season with the Rowdies but has some other soccer-related business that might pull him away for a bit.

    Family business, too.

    Tampa Bay Rowdies defender Damion Lowe collides with Louisville City FC forward Luke Spencer earlier this year.
  3. Sarasota's Scooter Gennett: Utility man turned historic slugger

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — On June 10, 2009, the Brewers selected a Sarasota High School shortstop in the 16th round of the MLB draft. He'd assembled an impressive resume in prep ball, but as one of more than 1,500 players drafted that year, he had a tough road to the big leagues.

    Cincinnati Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett (4) of Sarasota makes the throw to first as Rays DH Trevor Plouffe (14) grounds into a double play at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg Monday, June 19, 2017. For Gennett, the three-game series this week with the Rays was his first trip back to Tampa Bay since his historic four-home run game June 6, 2017 against St. Louis. DIRK SHADD   |   Times  

  4. Vegas Golden Knights expansion selections

    Lightning Strikes

    Vegas Golden Knights expansion selections


    Calvin Pickard, Colorado Avalanche

    J.F. Berube, New York Islanders

    Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins


    Teemu Pulkkinen, Arizona Coyotes

    William Carrier, Buffalo Sabres

    Cody Eakin, Dallas Stars …

  5. Lightning's Victor Hedman third in Norris Trophy voting

    Lightning Strikes

    Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman knew he was a long shot to win the Norris Trophy, given to the league's top defenseman, at Wednesday's NHL awards show.

    LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 21:  Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning attends the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena on June 21, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) 700065353